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Section 1: 424B2 (424B2)


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Filed Pursuant to Rule 424(b)(2)
Registration Number 333-223581

The information in this preliminary prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus is not complete and may be changed. This preliminary prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus are not an offer to sell the notes nor do they seek an offer to buy the notes in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION, DATED NOVEMBER 1, 2018

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

(To Prospectus Dated March 12, 2018)

LOGO   $            

American Express Company

$            % Notes due November     , 2021

$            Floating Rate Notes due November     , 2021

$            % Notes due November     , 2025

         We are offering $            principal amount of our        % notes due November     , 2021, or the 2021 fixed rate notes, $            principal amount of our floating rate notes due November     , 2021, or the floating rate notes, and $            principal amount of our        % notes due November     , 2025, or the 2025 fixed rate notes. In this prospectus supplement, we refer to the 2021 fixed rate notes and the 2025 fixed rate notes collectively as the fixed rate notes and we refer to the fixed rate notes and the floating rate notes collectively as the notes.

         We will pay interest on the fixed rate notes semi-annually in arrears on May     and November     of each year, beginning May     , 2019. The 2021 fixed rate notes will mature on November     , 2021 and the 2025 fixed rate notes will mature on November     , 2025. We will pay interest on the floating rate notes quarterly in arrears on February     , May     , August     and November     of each year, beginning February     , 2019, at a rate per annum, reset quarterly, equal to three-month LIBOR plus        %, accruing from November     , 2018. The floating rate notes will mature on November     , 2021.

         We may redeem the notes, in whole or in part, on or after the date that is 31 days prior to the maturity date at a redemption price equal to the principal amount of the notes being redeemed, together with any accrued and unpaid interest thereon to the date fixed for redemption. We may not redeem the notes prior to the date that is 31 days prior to the maturity date except upon the occurrence of a Tax Event (as defined under the heading "Description of Notes—Optional Redemption—Redemption Upon a Tax Event"). The notes will be our senior unsecured obligations and will rank prior to all of our present and future subordinated indebtedness and on an equal basis with all of our other present and future senior unsecured indebtedness.

         We will not list the notes on any exchange.

         We will only issue the notes in book-entry form registered in the name of a nominee of The Depository Trust Company, New York, New York, or DTC. Beneficial interests in the notes will be shown on, and transfers of such interests will be made only through, records maintained by DTC and its participants, including Clearstream Banking, societe anonyme, and Euroclear Bank SA/NV, as operator of the Euroclear system. Except as described in this prospectus supplement, we will not issue notes in definitive form.

         The underwriters are offering the notes for sale in those jurisdictions both inside and outside the United States where it is lawful to make such offers.

         Investing in the notes involves risks. You should carefully consider the information under "Risk Factors" included in this prospectus supplement, on page S-6 of the accompanying prospectus and on page 2 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017 incorporated herein by reference.

           
 
 
  Price to Public(1)
  Underwriting
Discounts and
Commissions

  Proceeds to
the Company(1)(2)

 

Per 2021 fixed rate note

              %               %               %
 

Total for 2021 fixed rate notes

  $               $               $            
 

Per floating rate note

              %               %               %
 

Total for floating rate notes

  $               $               $            
 

Per 2025 fixed rate note

              %               %               %
 

Total for 2025 fixed rate notes

  $               $               $            

 

(1)
Plus accrued interest, if any, from November     , 2018.

(2)
Before offering expenses.

         Delivery of the notes will be made on or about November     , 2018.

         Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

Joint Book-Running Managers

Deutsche Bank Securities   HSBC   RBC Capital Markets   Wells Fargo Securities   Barclays

   

The date of this prospectus supplement is November     , 2018.


Table of Contents


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Prospectus Supplement

 
  Page  

About this Prospectus Supplement

    S-1  

Summary

    S-3  

Risk Factors

    S-6  

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information

    S-8  

Use of Proceeds

    S-9  

Ratio of Earnings to Combined Fixed Charges and Preferred Stock Dividends

    S-10  

Description of Notes

    S-11  

Underwriting

    S-18  

Where You Can Find More Information

    S-22  

Incorporation of Certain Documents by Reference

    S-22  

Legal Matters

    S-23  

Experts

    S-23  


Prospectus

 
  Page  

About this Prospectus

    ii  

Where You Can Find More Information

    ii  

Incorporation of Certain Documents by Reference

    ii  

Forward-Looking Statements

    iv  

The Company

    1  

Risk Factors

    2  

Ratio of Earnings to Combined Fixed Charges and Preferred Stock Dividends

    7  

Use of Proceeds

    8  

Description of Debt Securities

    9  

Description of Preferred Shares

    31  

Description of Depositary Shares

    33  

Description of Common Shares

    34  

Description of Securities Warrants

    36  

Description of Other Warrants

    37  

ERISA Considerations

    38  

Taxation

    40  

Plan of Distribution

    50  

Legal Matters

    52  

Experts

    52  

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ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

        This document is in two parts. The first part is this prospectus supplement, which describes the specific terms of the notes that we are offering and other matters relating to us and our financial condition. The second part is the accompanying prospectus, which gives more general information about securities we may offer from time to time, some of which does not apply to the notes that we are offering. The description of the terms of the notes contained in this prospectus supplement supplements the description under "Description of Debt Securities" in the accompanying prospectus, and to the extent it is inconsistent with that description, the information in this prospectus supplement replaces the information in the accompanying prospectus. Generally, when we refer to the prospectus, we are referring to both parts of this document combined. If information in this prospectus supplement differs from information in the accompanying prospectus, you should rely on the information in the prospectus supplement.

        When we use the terms "American Express," the "Company," "we," "us" or "our" in this prospectus supplement, we mean American Express Company and its subsidiaries, on a consolidated basis, unless we state or the context implies otherwise.

        We are responsible only for the information contained in or incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus, the documents incorporated by reference herein and therein and any related free writing prospectus issued or authorized by us. Neither we nor the underwriters have authorized anyone to provide you with any other information, and we and the underwriters take no responsibility for any other information that others may give you. We and the underwriters are offering to sell the notes only under the circumstances and in jurisdictions where offers and sales are permitted. The information incorporated by reference into or contained in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus is accurate only as of the date on the front of those documents, regardless of the time of delivery of those documents or any sale of the notes.

        To the extent the offer of the notes contemplated by this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus is made in any Member State of the European Economic Area ("EEA"), the offer is only addressed to qualified investors in that Member State within the meaning of the Prospectus Directive or has been or will be made otherwise in circumstances that do not require us or the underwriters to publish a prospectus pursuant to the Prospectus Directive.

        This prospectus supplement has been prepared on the basis that any offer of notes in any Member State of the European Union will be made pursuant to an exemption under the Prospectus Directive from the requirement to publish a prospectus for offers of notes. Accordingly any person making or intending to make any offer within the EEA of notes which are the subject of the offer contemplated in this prospectus supplement may only do so in circumstances in which no obligation arises for us to publish a prospectus pursuant to Article 3 of the Prospectus Directive or supplement a prospectus pursuant to Article 16 of the Prospectus Directive, in each case, in relation to such offer. We have not authorized the making of any offer (other than Permitted Public Offers) of notes in circumstances in which an obligation arises for us to publish or supplement a prospectus for such offer.

        This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus are only being distributed to and are only directed at: (i) persons who are outside the United Kingdom; or (ii) investment professionals falling within Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (the "Order"); or (iii) high net worth entities, and other persons to whom it may lawfully be communicated, falling within Article 49(2)(a) to (d) of the Order (all such persons together being referred to as "relevant persons"). The notes are only available to, and any invitation, offer or agreement to subscribe, purchase or otherwise acquire such notes will be engaged in only with, relevant persons. Any person who is not a relevant person should not act or rely on this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus or any of their respective contents.

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        The notes are not intended to be offered, sold or otherwise made available to and should not be offered, sold or otherwise made available to any retail investor in the EEA. For these purposes, a retail investor means a person who is one (or more) of: (i) a retail client as defined in point (11) of Article 4(1) of MiFID II; or (ii) a customer within the meaning of Directive 2002/92/EC (as amended, the "Insurance Mediation Directive"), where that customer would not qualify as a professional client as defined in point (10) of Article 4(1) of MiFID II; or (iii) not a qualified investor as defined in Directive 2003/71/EC (as amended, the "Prospectus Directive"). Consequently no key information document required by Regulation (EU) No 1286/2014 (as amended, the "PRIIPs Regulation") for offering or selling the notes or otherwise making them available to retail investors in the EEA has been prepared and therefore offering or selling the notes or otherwise making them available to any retail investor in the EEA may be unlawful under the PRIIPs Regulation.

        The distribution of this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus and the offering of the notes in certain jurisdictions may be restricted by law. Persons into whose possession this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus come should inform themselves about and observe any such restrictions. This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus do not constitute, and may not be used in connection with, an offer or solicitation by anyone in any jurisdiction in which such offer or solicitation is not authorized or in which the person making such offer or solicitation is not qualified to do so or to any person to whom it is unlawful to make such offer or solicitation.

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SUMMARY

        The following summary highlights selected information included in or incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. It does not contain all of the information that you should consider before making an investment decision. You should carefully read this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus in its entirety, including the documents incorporated by reference in the foregoing documents, especially the risks of investing in our notes discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" included in this prospectus supplement, on page 2 of the accompanying prospectus and on page 16 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, and other information incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, which are described under "Incorporation of Certain Documents by Reference" in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus.


The Company

        American Express is a globally integrated payments company that provides customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Our principal products and services are charge and credit payment card products and travel-related services offered to consumers and businesses around the world. We and our principal operating subsidiary, American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., are bank holding companies under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended, subject to supervision and examination by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

        Our range of products and services includes:

        Our various products and services are sold globally to diverse customer groups, including consumers, small businesses, mid-sized companies and large corporations. These products and services are sold through various channels, including mobile and online applications, direct mail, in-house sales teams, third-party vendors and direct response advertising.

        Our general-purpose card network, card-issuing and merchant-acquiring and processing businesses are global in scope. We are a world leader in providing charge and credit cards to consumers, small businesses, mid-sized companies and large corporations. These cards include cards issued by American Express as well as cards issued by third-party banks and other institutions that are accepted by merchants on the American Express network. American Express® cards permit Card Members to charge purchases of goods and services in most countries around the world at the millions of merchants that accept cards bearing our logo. At September 30, 2018, we had total worldwide cards-in-force of 115.1 million (including cards issued by third parties). For the three months ended September 30, 2018, our worldwide billed business (spending on American Express® cards, including cards issued by third parties) was $294.7 billion.

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The Offering

Issuer

  American Express Company.

Offered Securities

 

$              initial aggregate principal amount of              % Notes due November    , 2021, or the 2021 fixed rate notes.

 

$              initial aggregate principal amount of Floating Rate Notes due November    , 2021, or the floating rate notes.

 

$              initial aggregate principal amount of              % Notes due November    , 2025, or the 2025 fixed rate notes.

Maturity Dates

 

The 2021 fixed rate notes will mature on November    , 2021.

 

The floating rate notes will mature on November    , 2021.

 

The 2025 fixed rate notes will mature on November    , 2025.

Interest Rates and Payment Dates

 

The 2021 fixed rate notes will bear interest at the rate of          % per annum payable semi-annually in arrears on May     and November     of each year, beginning May     , 2019.

 

The floating rate notes will bear interest at a rate per annum, reset quarterly, equal to three-month LIBOR (as defined below) plus        %. The interest on the floating rate notes will be payable quarterly in arrears on February     , May     , August     and November     of each year, beginning February     , 2019.

 

The 2025 fixed rate notes will bear interest at the rate of        % per annum payable semi-annually in arrears on May    and November     of each year, beginning May     , 2019.

Redemption

 

We may redeem each series of notes, in whole or in part, on or after the date that is 31 days prior to the maturity date for that series at a redemption price equal to the principal amount of the notes being redeemed, together with any accrued and unpaid interest thereon to the date fixed for redemption. We may not redeem the notes prior to the date that is 31 days prior to the maturity date for that series except upon the occurrence of a Tax Event (as defined under the heading "Description of Notes—Optional Redemption—Redemption Upon a Tax Event").

Markets

 

The notes are offered for sale in those jurisdictions both inside and outside the United States where it is lawful to make such offers. See "Underwriting." Each series of notes is a new issue of securities with no established trading market. We have been advised by the underwriters that they presently intend to make a market for the notes, as permitted by applicable laws and regulations. The underwriters are not obligated, however, to make a market for the notes and may discontinue any market-making at any time at their sole discretion.

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Minimum Denomination; Form and Settlement

 

We will issue the notes in minimum denominations of $2,000 and integral multiples of $1,000 in excess thereof, in the form of one or more fully registered global certificates for each series, or the global notes, which we will deposit with, or on behalf of, DTC and register in the name of DTC's nominee, Cede & Co., for the accounts of the participants in DTC, including Euroclear Bank SA/NV, as operator of the Euroclear system, or Euroclear, and Clearstream Banking, societe anonyme, or Clearstream.

 

Beneficial interests in the global notes will be represented through book-entry accounts of financial institutions acting on behalf of beneficial owners as direct and indirect participants in DTC. You may choose to hold interests in the global notes through DTC or through Euroclear or Clearstream if they are participants in such systems, or indirectly through organizations that are participants in such systems.

 

Euroclear and Clearstream will hold interests on behalf of their participants through their respective U.S. depositaries, which in turn will hold such interests in accounts as participants of DTC. See "Description of Notes—Book-Entry, Delivery and Form." Initial settlement for the notes will be made in immediately available funds in U.S. dollars. Secondary market trading between DTC participants of beneficial interests in the global notes will be settled in immediately available funds using DTC's Same-Day Funds Settlement System. Secondary market trading of beneficial interests in the global notes between Clearstream participants and/or Euroclear participants will settle in immediately available funds.

Withholding Tax

 

We will pay principal of and interest on the notes beneficially owned by a Non-United States Holder (as defined under "Certain U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences" in the accompanying prospectus) without withholding or deduction for United States withholding taxes, subject to the requirements and limitations set forth in this prospectus supplement under "Description of Notes—Payment of Additional Amounts."

Use of Proceeds

 

We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes. See "Use of Proceeds."

Trustee

 

The Bank of New York Mellon.

Calculation Agent

 

The Bank of New York Mellon.

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RISK FACTORS

        An investment in the notes involves risks. Before deciding whether to purchase any notes, you should carefully consider the risks described below as well as other factors and information included in or incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, including the risk factors set forth in our filings with the SEC that are incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. Any such risks could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or liquidity and the trading prices of our securities. However, the risks and uncertainties that we face are not limited to those described below and those set forth in the periodic reports incorporated herein by reference. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently believe to be immaterial may also adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or liquidity and the trading prices of our securities.

Risks Relating to the Notes

The notes may have limited or no liquidity

        There is no existing secondary market for the notes, and there can be no assurance that a secondary market will develop. We do not intend to apply for listing of the notes on any securities exchange or for quotation through any automated dealer quotation system. Although the underwriters may make a market in the notes, they are not obligated to do so and may discontinue any such market making activities at any time without notice. Even if a trading market for any or all of the series of notes develops, the liquidity of any market for the notes will depend upon the number of holders of the relevant series of notes, our performance, the market for similar securities, the interest of securities dealers in making a market in the notes and other factors. Accordingly, no assurance can be given as to the liquidity of, or adequate trading markets for, any or all of the series of notes.

Changes in our credit ratings may affect the value of the notes

        Our credit ratings are an assessment of our ability to pay our obligations. Consequently, real or anticipated changes in our credit ratings may affect the trading value of the notes. However, because your return on the notes depends upon factors in addition to our ability to pay our obligations, an improvement in our credit ratings will not reduce the other investment risks related to the notes. In addition, any reduction in our credit ratings could increase the cost of our funding from, and restrict our access to, the capital markets and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Our credit ratings may not reflect all risks of an investment in the notes

        The credit ratings of any or all of the series of notes may not reflect the potential impact of all risks related to structure and other factors on any trading market for, or trading value of, any or all of the series of notes. In addition, real or anticipated changes in our credit ratings will generally affect any trading market for, or trading value of, any or all of the series of notes.

We may redeem the notes on or after the date that is 31 days prior to the maturity date or upon a tax event, and you may not be able to reinvest in a comparable security

        We may redeem the notes on or after the date that is 31 days prior to the maturity date or upon the occurrence of a tax event. See "Description of Notes—Optional Redemption." In the event we redeem the notes, you may not be able to reinvest the redemption proceeds in a comparable security at an effective interest rate as high as the interest rate on the notes.

The floating rate notes bear additional risks

        The floating rate notes bear interest at a floating rate, and accordingly carry significant risks not associated with conventional fixed rate debt securities. These risks include fluctuation of the interest

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rates and the possibility that you will receive an amount of interest that is lower than expected. We have no control over a number of matters, including economic, financial and political events, that are important in determining the existence, magnitude and longevity of these risks and their results.

Uncertainty relating to the calculation of LIBOR and other reference rates and their potential discontinuance may materially adversely affect the value of the floating rate notes

        National and international regulators and law enforcement agencies have conducted investigations into a number of rates or indices which are deemed to be "reference rates." Actions by such regulators and law enforcement agencies may result in changes to the manner in which certain reference rates are determined, their discontinuance, or the establishment of alternative reference rates. In particular, on July 27, 2017, the Chief Executive of the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (the "FCA"), which regulates LIBOR, announced that the FCA will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. Such announcement indicates that the continuation of LIBOR on the current basis cannot and will not be guaranteed after 2021. Notwithstanding the foregoing, it appears highly likely that LIBOR will be discontinued or modified by 2021.

        At this time, it is not possible to predict the effect that these developments, any discontinuance, modification or other reforms to LIBOR or any other reference rate, or the establishment of alternative reference rates may have on LIBOR, other benchmarks or floating rate debt securities, including the floating rate notes. Uncertainty as to the nature of such potential discontinuance, modification, alternative reference rates or other reforms may materially adversely affect the trading market for securities linked to such benchmarks, including the floating rate notes. Furthermore, the use of alternative reference rates or other reforms could cause the interest rate calculated for the floating rate notes to be materially different than expected.

        If the calculation agent determines that LIBOR has been discontinued and an alternative reference rate for three-month LIBOR (as defined herein) is used as described in "Description of Notes—Interest—Floating Rate Notes", the calculation agent may, after consultation with us, make certain adjustments to such rate, including applying a spread thereon or with respect to the business day convention, interest determination dates and related provisions and definitions, to make such alternative reference rate comparable to three-month LIBOR, in a manner that is consistent with industry-accepted practices or applicable regulatory or legislative actions or guidance for such alternative reference rate. See "Description of Notes—Interest—Floating Rate Notes". Any of the specified methods of determining alternative reference rates or the permitted adjustments to such rates may result in interest payments on your notes that are lower than or that do not otherwise correlate over time with the payments that would have been made on the notes if published LIBOR continued to be available. Any of the foregoing may have a material adverse effect on the amount of interest payable on your notes, or the market liquidity and market value of your notes.

The notes will be effectively subordinated to all of our existing and future secured debt and to the existing and future secured debt and to the existing and future debt of our subsidiaries

        The notes will not be secured by any of our assets or the assets of our subsidiaries. As a result, the indebtedness represented by the notes will effectively be subordinated to any secured indebtedness we may incur, to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness. In the event of any distribution or payment of our assets in any foreclosure, dissolution, winding up, liquidation or reorganization or other bankruptcy proceeding, any secured creditors would have a superior claim to the extent of their collateral. In addition, the notes will not be guaranteed by any of our subsidiaries and therefore will be structurally subordinated to the existing and future indebtedness of our subsidiaries. In the event of the dissolution, winding up, liquidation or reorganization or other bankruptcy proceeding of a subsidiary, creditors of that subsidiary would generally have the right to be paid in full before any distribution is made to us or the holders of the notes. If any of the foregoing occur, we cannot assure you that there will be sufficient assets to pay amounts due on the notes.

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CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

        We have made various statements in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus that may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may also be made in our documents incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including those identified in the documents incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, which could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements. The words "believe," "expect," "estimate," "anticipate," "optimistic," "intend," "plan," "aim," "will," "may," "should," "could," "would," "likely" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. We caution you that any risk factors described or incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus as well as the risk factors described in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017 are not exclusive. There may also be other risks we are unable to predict at this time that may cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. We undertake no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements.

        Information concerning important factors that could cause actual events or results to be materially different from the forward-looking statements can be found in the "Risk Factors" section of this prospectus supplement as well as in the documents incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. Although we believe the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, it is not possible to foresee or identify all factors that could have a material and negative impact on our future performance. The forward-looking statements contained or incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement, and the accompanying prospectus are made on the basis of management's assumptions and analyses, as of the time the statements are made, in light of their experience and perception of historical conditions, expected future developments and other factors believed to be appropriate under the circumstances.

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USE OF PROCEEDS

        We estimate that the net proceeds from this offering will be approximately $            , after deducting the underwriters' discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses. We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes.

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RATIO OF EARNINGS TO COMBINED FIXED CHARGES AND PREFERRED STOCK DIVIDENDS

        The following table shows our historical ratios of earnings to combined fixed charges and preferred stock dividends for the periods indicated:

 
  Nine Months
Ended
September 30,
2018
  Years Ended December 31,  
 
  2017   2016   2015   2014   2013  

Ratio of earnings to combined fixed charges and preferred stock dividends

    3.83x     4.05x     5.35x     5.54x     6.22x     4.87x  

        In computing the ratio of earnings to combined fixed charges and preferred stock dividends, "earnings" consist of pretax income from continuing operations, interest expense and other adjustments. For purposes of the "earnings" computation, "other adjustments" include adding the amortization of capitalized interest, the distributed net income of affiliates accounted for under the equity method, the non-controlling interest in the earnings of majority-owned subsidiaries with fixed charges, and the interest component of rental expense, and subtracting undistributed net income of affiliates accounted for under the equity method.

        "Fixed charges" consist of interest expense and other adjustments, including capitalized interest costs and the interest component of rental expense. Interest expense includes interest expense related to the Card Member lending, Card Member charge card and other activities in our consolidated statements of income included in the documents incorporated by reference in this prospectus and an accompanying prospectus supplement. Interest expense does not include interest on liabilities recorded in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles governing accounting for uncertainty in income taxes. Our policy is to classify such interest in income tax provision in the consolidated statements of income.

        Preferred stock dividends represent pre-tax earnings that would be required to cover any preferred stock dividends, computed using our effective tax rate for the period.

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DESCRIPTION OF NOTES

        This description of the terms of the notes adds information to the description of the general terms and provisions of debt securities in the accompanying prospectus. If this description differs in any way from the description in the accompanying prospectus, you should rely on this description. In this section, references to "American Express," the "Company," "We," "us" or "our" refer solely to American Express Company, unless we state or the context implies otherwise.

General

        The notes offered by this prospectus supplement are senior debt securities issued under our senior debt indenture dated as of August 1, 2007. The 2021 fixed rate notes are initially being offered in an aggregate principal amount of $            and will mature on November     , 2021. The floating rate notes are initially being offered in an aggregate principal amount of $            and will mature on November     , 2021. The 2025 fixed rate notes are initially being offered in an aggregate principal amount of $            and will mature on November     , 2025. We may, without consent of the holders, increase the principal amount of the notes of any series in the future, on the same terms and conditions and with the same respective CUSIP number as the notes of the applicable series being offered hereby, as more fully described in "—Further Issues" below. The notes will be our senior unsecured obligations and will rank prior to all present and future subordinated indebtedness of the Company and on an equal basis with all other present and future senior unsecured indebtedness of the Company.

Interest

        We will pay interest on the fixed rate notes from November     , 2018 at the rates per annum set forth on the cover page of this prospectus supplement, semi-annually in arrears on May     and November     of each year, beginning May     , 2019, to the persons in whose names such fixed rate notes are registered on the April     or October     , as the case may be, immediately preceding such interest payment date, except that interest payable at maturity will be payable to the person to whom the principal of the note is paid. Interest on the fixed rate notes will be paid on the basis of a 360-day year comprised of twelve 30-day months. On the maturity dates of the fixed rate notes, holders will be entitled to receive 100% of the principal amount of the fixed rate note plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any. We will redeem the fixed rate notes prior to maturity if certain events occur involving United States taxation. In such event, we will redeem the fixed rate notes at a redemption price of 100% of their principal amount plus accrued and unpaid interest to the date of redemption. See "—Redemption Upon a Tax Event." On or after October     , 2021, with respect to the 2021 fixed rate notes, and October     , 2025, with respect to the 2025 fixed rate notes, the date that is 31 days prior to the maturity date for such series of notes, we may redeem all or a portion of the fixed rate notes for 100% of the principal amount of the notes being redeemed, together with any accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date fixed for redemption. If any day on which a payment is due is not a Business Day (as defined below), then the holder of the fixed rate note shall not be entitled to payment of the amount due until the next Business Day and shall not be entitled to any additional principal, interest or other payment as a result of such delay except as otherwise provided under "—Payment of Additional Amounts." "Business Day" for purposes of the fixed rate notes means any day which is not a Saturday or Sunday or any other day on which banks in New York City are authorized or obligated by law or regulation to close.

        We will pay interest on the floating rate notes quarterly in arrears on February     , May     , August     and November     of each year, subject to the Business Day Convention, each a Floating

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Rate Notes Interest Payment Date, beginning February     , 2019, at a rate per annum, reset quarterly, equal to three-month LIBOR plus        %, accruing from November     , 2018, to the persons in whose names such floating rate notes are registered on the January     , April     , July     or October     , as the case may be, immediately preceding such Floating Rate Notes Interest Payment Date, except that interest payable at maturity will be payable to the person to whom the principal of the note is paid. Interest on the floating rate notes with respect to any Interest Reset Period (as defined below) shall be determined by the calculation agent and calculated on the basis of a 360-day year for the actual number of days elapsed during the period, and shall be equal to three-month LIBOR (as defined below) for the related Interest Reset Period plus        %. On the maturity date of the floating rate notes, holders will be entitled to receive 100% of the principal amount of the floating rate notes plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any. We will redeem the floating rate notes prior to maturity if certain events occur involving United States taxation. In such event, we will redeem the floating rate notes at a redemption price of 100% of their principal amount plus accrued and unpaid interest to the date of redemption. See "—Redemption Upon a Tax Event." On or after October     , 2021 the date that is 31 days prior to the maturity date of the floating rate notes, we may redeem all or a portion of the floating rate notes for 100% of the principal amount of the notes being redeemed, together with any accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date fixed for redemption.

        The definitions of certain terms used in this section are listed below.

        "Business Day" for purposes of the floating rate notes means any day which is not a Saturday or Sunday or any other day on which banks in New York City are authorized or obligated by law or regulation to close.

        "Business Day Convention" means if any interest payment date in respect of any floating rate note (other than the maturity date or redemption date) is not a Business Day, then such interest payment date will be postponed to the next succeeding Business Day unless that Business Day is in the next succeeding calendar month, in which case the interest payment date will be the immediately preceding Business Day. If any such interest payment date (other than the maturity date) is postponed or brought forward as described above, the interest amount will be adjusted accordingly and the holder will be entitled to more or less interest, respectively. If the maturity date or redemption date in respect of the floating rate notes is not a Business Day, the payment of principal and interest at the maturity date or redemption date will not be made until the next following Business Day and no further interest will be paid in respect of the delay in such payment.

        "Floating Rate Notes Interest Payment Date" means the dates on which we will pay interest, in arrears, on the floating rate notes, which are February     , May     , August     and November     of each year, subject to the Business Day Convention, beginning on February     , 2019 and ending on the maturity date for the floating rate notes, unless earlier redeemed.

        "Interest Reset Period" means each period from and including a Floating Rate Notes Interest Payment Date (or, in the case of the first such period, the issue date of the floating rate notes) to but excluding the next succeeding Floating Rate Notes Interest Payment Date.

        "Interest Determination Date" means, with respect to an Interest Reset Date, the second London Business Day preceding such Interest Reset Date.

        "Interest Reset Date" means for each Interest Reset Period, the first day of such Interest Reset Period.

        "London Business Day" means any day on which dealings in deposits in U.S. dollars are transacted in the London interbank market.

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        "three-month LIBOR" means for any Interest Reset Period, the London interbank offered rate per annum determined by the calculation agent on the related Interest Determination Date, in accordance with the following provisions:

        "Reuters LIBOR01 Page" means the display designated as page LIBOR01 on the Reuters 3000 Xtra (or such other page as may replace the Reuters LIBOR01 Page on that service, or such other

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service as may be nominated as the information vendor, for the purpose of displaying rates or prices comparable to the London Interbank Offered Rate for U.S. dollar deposits).

        Unless otherwise specified, all percentages resulting from any calculation of the interest rate will be rounded, if necessary, to the nearest one thousandth of a percentage point, with five ten-thousandths of a percentage point rounded upward (e.g., 9.8765% (or .098765) will be rounded upward to 9.877% (or .09877)), and all U.S. dollar amounts used in or resulting from such calculation will be rounded to the nearest U.S. dollar (with one-half such dollar being rounded upward).

        We have appointed The Bank of New York Mellon to act as the calculation agent for the floating rate notes. All calculations made by the calculation agent for the purposes of calculating interest on the floating rate notes shall be conclusive and binding on the holders of the floating rate notes, the trustee and us, absent manifest error.

Optional Redemption

        The notes are not subject to repayment at the option of the holders at any time prior to maturity.

        We may redeem the notes under the circumstances described below.

        We may, at our option, redeem each series of notes, in whole or in part, on or after the date that is 31 days prior to the maturity date for such series, on at least 30 days' and no more than 60 days' prior written notice, at a redemption price equal to the principal amount of the notes being redeemed, together with any accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date fixed for redemption.

        If, as a result of (a) any change in (including any announced prospective change), or amendment to, the laws (including any regulations or rulings promulgated thereunder) of the United States (or any political subdivision or taxing authority thereof or therein), or any change in (including any announced prospective change), or amendment to, any official position regarding the application or interpretation of such laws, which change or amendment is announced or becomes effective on or after the date of this prospectus supplement, or (b) a taxing authority of the United States taking any action, or such action becoming generally known, on or after the date of this prospectus supplement, whether or not such action is taken with respect to us or any of our affiliates, there is in either case a material increase in the probability that we will or may be required to pay additional amounts as described herein under the heading "—Payment of Additional Amounts" above (a "Tax Event"), then we may in either case, at our option, redeem, in whole or in part, the notes on at least 30 days' and no more than 60 days' prior written notice, at a redemption price equal to the principal amount of the notes being redeemed, together with any accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date fixed for redemption.

        In order to exercise this right, we must determine, in our business judgment, that the obligation to pay such additional amounts cannot be avoided by the use of reasonable measures available to us, not including substitution of the obligor under the notes. Prior to the publication of any notice of redemption, we will deliver to the trustee an officer's certificate stating that we are entitled to effect a redemption and setting forth a statement of facts showing that the conditions precedent to our right to so redeem have occurred and an opinion of counsel to that effect based on that statement of facts.

Book-Entry, Delivery and Form

        We will issue the notes in the form of one or more fully registered global notes in minimum denominations of $2,000 and integral multiples of $1,000 in excess thereof. We will deposit the notes with, or on behalf of, DTC and will register the notes in the name of Cede & Co., DTC's nominee.

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        Your beneficial interests in the global notes will be represented through book-entry accounts of financial institutions acting on your behalf as direct and indirect participants in DTC, or DTC participants. You may elect to hold interests in the global notes either through DTC (inside the United States) or through Clearstream or Euroclear (outside of the United States) if they are participants in such systems, or indirectly through organizations that are participants in such systems. For information on DTC, Clearstream and Euroclear, see "Description of Debt Securities—Global Securities and Global Clearance and Settlement Procedures" beginning on page 25 of the accompanying prospectus.

Definitive Notes

        We will issue notes in definitive registered form in exchange for the global notes in the following instances. If DTC notifies us that it is unwilling or unable to continue as depository for the global notes or if DTC ceases to be a clearing agency registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, and we do not appoint a successor depository within 90 days, we will issue notes in definitive form. We will also issue definitive notes in exchange for the global notes if an event of default with respect to the notes occurs and is continuing as described under "Description of Debt Securities—Events of Default, Notice and Waiver" in the accompanying prospectus. If we issue definitive notes, the notes may be presented for registration of transfer and exchange at the office of the trustee in New York, New York. In such circumstances, we will pay principal of, and interest on, the notes at the office of the trustee in New York, New York. We will make payments of principal on the notes only against surrender of such notes. All payments of principal and interest will be made by U.S. dollar check drawn on a bank in The City of New York and mailed to the persons in whose names such notes are registered at such person's address as provided in the register. For holders of at least $1,000,000 in aggregate principal amount of notes, we will make payment by wire transfer to a U.S. dollar account maintained by the payee with a bank in The City of New York or in Europe, provided that the trustee receives a written request from such holder to such effect designating such account no later than May     or November     , in respect of the fixed rate notes, or February     , May     , August     or November     , in respect of the floating rate notes, as the case may be, immediately preceding the relevant interest payment date.

Payment of Additional Amounts

        We will, subject to the exceptions and limitations set forth below, pay as additional interest on the notes, such additional amounts as are necessary in order that the net payment by us or a paying agent of the principal of and interest on the notes to a holder who is a Non-United States Holder (as defined under "Certain U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences" in the accompanying prospectus), after deduction for any present or future tax, assessment or governmental charge of the United States or a political subdivision or taxing authority thereof or therein, imposed by withholding with respect to the payment, will not be less than the amount that would have been payable had no such withholding or deduction been required.

        However, our obligation to pay additional amounts shall not apply:

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        The notes are subject in all cases to any tax, fiscal or other law or regulation or administrative or judicial interpretation applicable thereto. Except as specifically provided under this heading "—Payment of Additional Amounts" and under the heading "—Redemption Upon a Tax Event," we shall not be required to make any payment with respect to any tax, assessment or governmental charge imposed by any government or a political subdivision or taxing authority thereof or therein.

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Further Issues

        We may from time to time, without notice to or the consent of the registered holders of the notes of a series, create and issue further notes ranking on an equal basis with the notes of such series being offered hereby in all respects (or in all respects except for the payment of interest accruing prior to the issue date of such further notes or except, in some circumstances, for the first payment of interest following the issue date of such further notes). Such further notes shall be consolidated and form a single series with the notes of such series being offered hereby and shall have the same terms as to status, redemption or otherwise as the notes of such series being offered hereby.

Notices

        So long as the global notes are held on behalf of DTC or any other clearing system, notices to holders of notes represented by a beneficial interest in the global notes may be given by delivery of the relevant notice to DTC or the alternative clearing system, as the case may be.

Trustee

        The Bank of New York Mellon is the trustee under our senior debt indenture dated as of August 1, 2007 with respect to the notes and will be the paying agent and registrar for the notes and the calculation agent for the floating rate notes. We and our affiliates have entered, and from time to time may continue to enter, into banking or other relationships with The Bank of New York Mellon or its affiliates. For example, The Bank of New York Mellon provides custodial services to us and provides corporate trust services to our affiliates. We and our affiliates may have other customary banking relationships (including other trusteeships) with the trustee.

        Within 90 days after a default, the trustee must give to the holders of the notes of the applicable series notice of all uncured and unwaived defaults by us known to it. However, except in the case of default in payment, the trustee may withhold such notice if it determines that such withholding is in the interest of such holders. The trustee may resign or be removed by the holders of a majority of the notes of one or more series (each voting as a class) in certain circumstances, and a successor trustee may be appointed by us to act with respect to the notes.

Unclaimed Funds

        All funds deposited with the trustee or any paying agent for the payment of principal, interest or additional amounts in respect of the notes of a series that remain unclaimed for two years after the maturity date of such series will be returned to the Company upon its request. Thereafter, any right of any noteholder to such funds shall be enforceable only against the Company.

Governing Law

        The notes and the senior debt indenture dated as of August 1, 2007 will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York. Actions relating to the notes and indenture may be brought in the state or federal courts in New York.

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UNDERWRITING

        Under the terms and subject to the conditions contained in a terms agreement dated November     , 2018, which incorporates by reference the provisions contained in the document entitled "American Express Company—Debt Securities—Underwriting Agreement Basic Provisions" filed with the SEC on March 12, 2018, we have agreed to sell to the underwriters named below, for whom Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC and Barclays Capital Inc. are acting as representatives, the following respective principal amounts of the notes:

Underwriters
  Principal Amount
of 2021 Fixed
Rate Notes
  Principal Amount
of Floating
Rate Notes
  Principal Amount
of 2025 Fixed
Rate Notes
 

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. 

  $     $     $    

HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. 

  $     $     $    

RBC Capital Markets, LLC

  $     $     $    

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC

  $     $     $    

Barclays Capital Inc. 

  $     $     $    

Total

  $     $     $    

        The terms agreement provides that the obligations of the several underwriters to pay for and accept delivery of the notes of each series are subject to the approval of certain legal matters by their counsel and to certain other conditions. The underwriters are obligated to take and pay for all of the notes of a series if any notes of that series are taken. The offering of the notes by the underwriters is subject to receipt and acceptance and subject to the underwriters' right to reject any order in whole or in part.

        The underwriters initially propose to offer the notes directly to the public at the public offering prices set forth on the cover page of this prospectus supplement and may offer the notes to certain dealers at a price that represents a concession not in excess of        % of the principal amount of the fixed rate notes and        % of the principal amount of the floating rate notes. The underwriters may allow, and such dealers may reallow, concessions not in excess of        % of the principal amount of the fixed rate notes and        % of the principal amount of the floating rate notes on sales to other dealers. After the initial offering of the notes, the public offering prices and other selling terms may from time to time be varied by the representatives.

        Each series of notes is a new issue of securities with no established trading market. We have been advised by the underwriters that they presently intend to make a market for the notes of each series, as permitted by applicable laws and regulations. The underwriters are not obligated, however, to make a market for the notes of any series and may discontinue any market making at any time at their sole discretion. Accordingly, we can provide no assurance as to the liquidity of, or trading markets for, any series of notes.

        In connection with the offering of the notes, the underwriters may engage in transactions that stabilize, maintain or otherwise affect the price of the notes. Specifically, the underwriters may overallot in connection with the offering of the notes, creating a syndicate short position. In addition, the underwriters may bid for, and purchase, notes in the open market to cover syndicate short positions or to stabilize the price of the notes. Finally, the underwriters may reclaim selling concessions allowed for distributing the notes in the offering of the notes, if the underwriters repurchase previously distributed notes in syndicate covering transactions, stabilization transactions or otherwise. Any of these activities may stabilize or maintain the market price of the notes above independent market levels. The underwriters are not required to engage in any of these activities, may end any of them at any time and must bring them to an end after a limited period.

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        In addition, in the ordinary course of their business activities, the underwriters and their affiliates may make or hold a broad array of investments and actively trade debt and equity securities (or related derivative securities) and financial instruments (including bank loans) for their own account and for the accounts of their customers. Such investments and securities activities may involve securities and/or instruments of ours or our affiliates. If any of the underwriters or their affiliates have a lending relationship with us, certain of those underwriters or affiliates routinely hedge, and certain other of those underwriters may hedge, their credit exposure to us consistent with their customary risk management policies. Typically, these underwriters and their affiliates would hedge such exposure by entering into transactions which consist of either the purchase of credit default swaps or the creation of short positions in our securities, including potentially the notes offered hereby. Any such credit default swaps or short positions could adversely affect future trading prices of the notes offered hereby. The underwriters and their affiliates may also make investment recommendations and/or publish or express independent research views in respect of such securities or financial instruments and may hold, or recommend to clients that they acquire, long and/ or short positions in such securities and instruments.

        In the ordinary course of their respective businesses, the underwriters and their affiliates may have engaged, and may in the future engage, in commercial banking and/or investment banking transactions with us and our affiliates for which they have in the past received, and may in the future receive, customary fees. Affiliates of certain of the underwriters are lenders under existing credit agreements with certain of our subsidiaries.

        We expect to deliver the notes against payment therefor on November     , 2018, which will be the business day following the date of this prospectus supplement and of the pricing of the notes. Under Rule 15c6-1 of the Securities Exchange Act, trades in the secondary market generally are required to settle in two business days, unless the parties to any such trade expressly agree otherwise. Accordingly, purchasers who wish to trade notes on any date prior to business days before delivery will be required, by virtue of the fact that the notes are initially expected to settle in business days (T +     ), to specify alternative settlement arrangements to prevent a failed settlement.

        The aggregate proceeds to us are set forth on the cover page hereof before deducting our expenses in connection with the offering of the notes. We estimate that our share of the total expenses of the offering, excluding underwriting discounts and commissions, will be approximately $            .

        We have agreed to indemnify the underwriters against certain liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or to contribute to payments the underwriters may be required to make in respect thereof.

        The notes are not intended to be offered, sold or otherwise made available to and should not be offered, sold or otherwise made available to any retail investor in the EEA. For these purposes, a retail investor means a person who is one (or more) of: (i) a retail client as defined in point (11) of Article 4(1) of Directive 2014/65/EU (as amended, "MiFID II"); or (ii) a customer within the meaning of Directive 2002/92/EC (as amended, the "Insurance Mediation Directive"), where that customer would not qualify as a professional client as defined in point (10) of Article 4(1) of MiFID II; or (iii) not a qualified investor as defined in Directive 2003/71/EC (as amended, the "Prospectus Directive"). Consequently no key information document required by Regulation (EU) No 1286/2014 (as amended, the "PRIIPs Regulation") for offering or selling the notes or otherwise making them available to retail investors in the EEA has been prepared and therefore offering or selling the notes or otherwise making them available to any retail investor in the EEA may be unlawful under the PRIIPs Regulation.

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        Each underwriter has represented and agreed that:

        The notes may not be offered or sold in Hong Kong by means of any document other than (i) in circumstances which do not constitute an offer to the public within the meaning of the Companies (Winding Up and Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Cap. 32, Laws of Hong Kong), or (ii) to "professional investors" within the meaning of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571, Laws of Hong Kong) and any rules made thereunder, or (iii) in other circumstances which do not result in the document being a "prospectus" within the meaning of the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32, Laws of Hong Kong) and no advertisement, invitation or document relating to the notes may be issued or may be in the possession of any person for the purpose of issue (in each case whether in Hong Kong or elsewhere), which is directed at, or the contents of which are likely to be accessed or read by, the public in Hong Kong (except if permitted to do so under the laws of Hong Kong) other than with respect to notes which are or are intended to be disposed of only to persons outside Hong Kong or only to "professional investors" within the meaning of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571, Laws of Hong Kong) and any rules made thereunder.

        The notes offered in this prospectus supplement have not been and will not be registered under the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law of Japan (the "Financial Instruments and Exchange Law"). The notes have not been offered or sold and will not be offered or sold, directly or indirectly, in Japan or to or for the account of any resident of Japan (including any corporation or other entity organized under the laws of Japan), except (i) pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law and (ii) in compliance with any other applicable requirements of Japanese law.

        This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus have not been and will not be registered as a prospectus with the Monetary Authority of Singapore under the Securities and Futures Act, Chapter 289 of Singapore (the "SFA"). Accordingly, each underwriter has not offered or sold any notes or caused such notes to be made the subject of an invitation for subscription or purchase and will not offer or sell such notes or cause such notes to be made the subject of an invitation for subscription or purchase, and has not circulated or distributed, nor will it circulate or distribute, this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus or any other document or material in connection with the offer or sale, or invitation for subscription or purchase, of such notes, whether directly or indirectly, to persons in Singapore other than (i) to an institutional investor under Section 274 of the SFA, (ii) to a relevant person pursuant to Section 275(1), or any person pursuant to Section 275(1A), and in accordance with the conditions specified in Section 275, of the SFA or (iii) otherwise pursuant to, and in accordance with the conditions of, any other applicable provision of the SFA.

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        Where the notes are subscribed or purchased under Section 275 of the SFA by a relevant person which is: (a) a corporation (which is not an accredited investor (as defined in Section 4A of the SFA)) the sole business of which is to hold investments and the entire share capital of which is owned by one or more individuals, each of whom is an accredited investor; or (b) a trust (where the trustee is not an accredited investor) whose sole purpose is to hold investments and each beneficiary of the trust is an individual who is an accredited investor, securities (as defined in Section 239(1) of the SFA) of that corporation or the beneficiaries' rights and interest (howsoever described) in that trust shall not be transferred within six months after that corporation or that trust has acquired the notes pursuant to an offer made under Section 275 of the SFA, except: (i) to an institutional investor under Section 274 of the SFA or to a relevant person (as defined in Section 275(2) of the SFA), or to any person arising from an offer referred to in Section 275(1A), or Section 276(4)(i)(B) of the SFA; (ii) where no consideration is or will be given for the transfer; (iii) where the transfer is by operation of law; (iv) as specified in Section 276(7) of the SFA; or (v) as specified in Regulation 32 of the Securities and Futures (Offers of Investments) (Shares and Debentures) Regulations 2005 of Singapore.

        Singapore Securities and Futures Act Product Classification—Solely for the purposes of its obligations pursuant to sections 309B(1)(a) and 309B(1)(c) of the Securities and Futures Act (Chapter 289 of Singapore) (the "SFA"), the Company has determined, and hereby notifies all relevant persons (as defined in Section 309A of the SFA) that the notes are "prescribed capital markets products" (as defined in the Securities and Futures (Capital Markets Products) Regulations 2018) and Excluded Investment Products (as defined in MAS Notice SFA 04-N12: Notice on the Sale of Investment Products and MAS Notice FAA-N16: Notice on Recommendations on Investment Products).

        This document is not intended to constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase or invest in the notes described herein. The notes may not be publicly offered, sold or advertised, directly or indirectly, in, into or from Switzerland and will not be listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange or on any other exchange or regulated trading facility in Switzerland. Neither this prospectus supplement nor any other offering or marketing material relating to the notes constitutes a prospectus as such term is understood pursuant to article 652a or article 1156 of the Swiss Code of Obligations, and neither this prospectus supplement nor any other offering or marketing material relating to the notes may be publicly distributed or otherwise made publicly available in Switzerland.

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WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION

        We file annual, quarterly and current reports and other information with the SEC. Our SEC filings are available to the public from the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov. You may also read and copy any document we file, including the registration statement referred to in the accompanying prospectus, at the SEC's public reference facilities at 100 F Street, N.E., Room 1580, Washington, D.C. 20549. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information about the operation of the public reference room.

INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN DOCUMENTS BY REFERENCE

        The SEC allows us to incorporate by reference the information we file with the SEC, which means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to those documents (other than information that is deemed "furnished" to the SEC). The information that we incorporate by reference is considered to be part of this prospectus supplement.

        Any reports filed by us with the SEC after the date of this prospectus supplement and before the date that the offering of the notes by means of this prospectus supplement is terminated will automatically update and, where applicable, supersede any information contained in this prospectus supplement or incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement. This means that you must look at all of the SEC filings that we incorporate by reference to determine if any of the statements in this prospectus supplement or in any documents previously incorporated by reference have been modified or superseded. We incorporate by reference into this prospectus supplement the following documents filed with the SEC (except for information in these documents or filings that is deemed "furnished" and not "filed" in accordance with the SEC rules, including pursuant to Item 2.02 or 7.01 of Form 8-K, and no such information shall be deemed specifically incorporated by reference hereby or in the accompanying prospectus):

        You may request a copy of these filings at no cost, by writing or telephoning us at the following address or telephone number:

American Express Company
200 Vesey Street
New York, New York 10285
Attention: Corporate Secretary
(212) 640-2000

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LEGAL MATTERS

        The validity of the notes will be passed upon for us by David S. Carroll, Esq., Senior Counsel of American Express Company. Certain legal matters will be passed upon for the underwriters by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, New York, New York. From time to time, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP provides legal services to American Express Company and its subsidiaries.

EXPERTS

        The financial statements and management's assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting (which is included in Management's Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting) incorporated in this prospectus supplement by reference to the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017 have been so incorporated in reliance on the report of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, given on the authority of said firm as experts in auditing and accounting.

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PROSPECTUS


LOGO

 

American Express Company

Debt Securities
Preferred Shares
Depositary Shares
Common Shares
Warrants

 

 



        American Express Company may offer from time to time in one or more series:

        We may offer any combination of these securities at prices and on terms to be determined at or prior to the time of sale.

        We may offer and sell securities to or through one or more underwriters, dealers and agents, or directly to purchasers. The names and compensation of any underwriters or agents involved in the sale of securities will be described in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

        We will provide the specific terms of any offering in a supplement to this prospectus. This prospectus may not be used to consummate a sale of these securities unless accompanied by a supplement to this prospectus.

        Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "AXP."

        Investing in the securities involves risks. You should carefully consider the information under "Risk Factors" beginning on page 2 of this prospectus as well as the risk factors contained in other documents incorporated by reference into this prospectus and contained in any accompanying prospectus supplement.

        Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.



The date of this prospectus is March 12, 2018.


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About This Prospectus     ii  

Where You Can Find More Information

 

 

ii

 

Incorporation of Certain Documents By Reference

 

 

ii

 

Forward-Looking Statements

 

 

iv

 

The Company

 

 

1

 

Risk Factors

 

 

2

 

Ratio of Earnings to Combined Fixed Charges and Preferred Stock Dividends

 

 

7

 

Use of Proceeds

 

 

8

 

Description of Debt Securities

 

 

9

 

Description of Preferred Shares

 

 

31

 

Description of Depositary Shares

 

 

33

 

Description of Common Shares

 

 

34

 

Description of Securities Warrants

 

 

36

 

Description of Other Warrants

 

 

37

 

ERISA Considerations

 

 

38

 

Taxation

 

 

40

 

Plan of Distribution

 

 

50

 

Legal Matters

 

 

52

 

Experts

 

 

52

 

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        We are responsible only for the information contained in or incorporated by reference in this prospectus, in the applicable prospectus supplement, and in the other offering material, if any, provided by us or any underwriter, dealer or agent that we may from time to time retain. We and any underwriter, dealer and agent have not authorized anyone to provide you with different or additional information. We take no responsibility for any other information or representations that others may give you. This prospectus is an offer to sell only the securities it describes, but only under circumstances and in jurisdictions where it is lawful to do so. The information contained in or incorporated by reference in this prospectus, the applicable prospectus supplement or other offering material may only be accurate on the date of the relevant document.


ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

        This prospectus is part of a registration statement on Form S-3, to which we refer as the registration statement, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, to which we refer as the SEC, under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, to which we refer as the Securities Act, using a shelf registration process. Under this process, we may sell from time to time any combination of the securities described in this prospectus.

        This prospectus describes the general terms of these securities and the general manner in which we will offer the securities. Each time these securities are sold, this prospectus will be accompanied by a prospectus supplement that describes the specific terms of these securities and the specific manner in which they may be offered. You should read the prospectus supplement and this prospectus, along with the documents incorporated by reference and described under the headings "Incorporation of certain documents by reference" and "Where you can find more information" before making your investment decision.

        References in this prospectus to the "Company," "American Express," "we," "us" and "our" are to American Express Company.

        We have filed or incorporated by reference exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part (including by cross-reference to our prior filings). You should read the exhibits carefully for provisions that may be important to you.


WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION

        We file annual, quarterly and current reports and other information with the SEC. Our SEC filings are available to the public from the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov. You may also read and copy any document we file, including the registration statement, at the SEC's public reference facilities at 100 F Street, N.E., Room 1580, Washington, D.C. 20549. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information about the operation of the public reference room.


INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN DOCUMENTS BY REFERENCE

        The SEC allows us to incorporate by reference the information we file with the SEC, which means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to those documents. The information we incorporate by reference is considered to be part of this prospectus.

        Any reports filed by us with the SEC after the date of this prospectus and before the date that the offering of the securities by means of this prospectus is terminated will automatically update and, where applicable, supersede any information contained in this prospectus or incorporated by reference in this prospectus. This means that you must look at all of the SEC filings that we incorporate by reference to determine if any of the statements in this prospectus or in any documents previously incorporated by reference have been modified or superseded. We incorporate by reference into this prospectus the following documents filed with the SEC (other than, in each case, documents or information deemed

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furnished and not filed in accordance with the SEC rules, including pursuant to Item 2.02 or Item 7.01 of Form 8-K, and no such information shall be deemed specifically incorporated by reference hereby or in any accompanying prospectus supplement):

        You may request a copy of these filings at no cost, by writing or telephoning us at the following address or number:

American Express Company
200 Vesey Street
New York, New York 10285
Attention: Corporate Secretary
(212) 640-2000

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

        We have made various statements in this prospectus that may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may also be made in any prospectus supplement and the documents that are or will be incorporated by reference in this prospectus. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including those identified in the documents that are or will be incorporated by reference in this prospectus, which could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements. The words "believe," "expect," "estimate," "anticipate," "optimistic," "intend," "plan," "aim," "will," "may," "should," "could," "would," "likely" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward- looking statements. We caution you that any risk factors described in any prospectus supplement or in any document incorporated by reference herein are not exclusive. There may also be other risks we are unable to predict at this time that may cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward- looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. We undertake no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements.

        Information concerning important factors that could cause actual events or results to be materially different from the forward- looking statements can be found in the "Risk Factors" section of the documents that are or will be incorporated by reference in this prospectus and any accompanying prospectus supplement. Although we believe the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, it is not possible to foresee or identify all factors that could have a material and negative impact on our future performance. The forward-looking statements contained or incorporated by reference in this prospectus or any accompanying prospectus supplement are made on the basis of management's assumptions and analyses, as of the time the statements are made, in light of their experience and perception of historical conditions, expected future developments and other factors believed to be appropriate under the circumstances.

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THE COMPANY

        American Express is a global services company that provides customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Our principal products and services are charge and credit card products and travel-related services offered to consumers and businesses around the world. We and our principal operating subsidiary, American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., are bank holding companies under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended, subject to supervision and examination by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ("the Federal Reserve").

        Our range of products and services includes:

        Our various products and services are sold globally to diverse customer groups, including consumers, small businesses, mid-sized companies and large corporations. These products and services are sold through various channels, including online applications, direct mail, in-house teams, third-party vendors and direct response advertising. Business travel-related services are offered through our non-consolidated joint venture, American Express Global Business Travel.

        Our general-purpose card network, card-issuing and merchant-acquiring and processing businesses are global in scope. We are a world leader in providing charge and credit cards to consumers, small businesses, mid-sized companies and large corporations. These cards include cards issued by American Express as well as cards issued by third-party banks and other institutions that are accepted by merchants on the American Express network. American Express® cards permit Card Members to charge purchases of goods and services in most countries around the world at the millions of merchants that accept cards bearing our logo. At December 31, 2017, we had total worldwide cards-in-force of 112.8 million (including cards issued by third parties). In 2017, our worldwide billed business (spending on American Express cards, including cards issued by third parties) was $1,085.2 billion.

        Our executive offices are located at 200 Vesey Street, New York, New York 10285 (telephone number: 212-640-2000).

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RISK FACTORS

        Investing in the securities involves risks. Descriptions of the securities are contained below under "Description of Debt Securities," "Description of Preferred Shares," "Description of Depositary Shares," "Description of Common Shares," "Description of Securities Warrants" and "Description of Other Warrants," as well as in the accompanying prospectus supplement for each type of security we issue. Please see the risks relating to debt securities described below as well as the "Risk Factors" section in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, and in each of our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, all of which are incorporated by reference in this prospectus. Before making an investing decision, you should carefully consider these risks as well as other information we include or incorporate by reference in this prospectus and any accompanying prospectus supplement, including information contained in our filings with the SEC after the date of this prospectus. The prospectus supplement applicable to each type or series of securities we offer may contain a discussion of additional risks applicable to an investment in us and the particular type of securities we are offering under that prospectus supplement. Although we discuss key risks in our risk factor descriptions, new risks may emerge in the future, which may prove to be important. Our subsequent filings with the SEC may contain amended and updated discussions of significant risks. We cannot predict future risks or estimate the extent to which they may affect our financial performance. Accordingly, the risks and uncertainties that we face are not limited to those described below and those set forth in the periodic reports incorporated herein by reference. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently believe to be immaterial may also adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or liquidity and the trading prices of our securities.

Risks Relating to Debt Securities

The debt securities may have limited or no liquidity

        There is no existing secondary market for the debt securities, and there can be no assurance that a secondary market will develop. We do not intend to apply for listing of the debt securities on any securities exchange or for quotation through any automated dealer quotation system. Although underwriters may make a market in the debt securities, they are not obligated to do so and may discontinue any such market making activities at any time without notice. Even if a trading market for the debt securities develops, the liquidity of any market for such debt securities will depend upon the number of holders of debt securities, our performance, the market for similar securities, the interest of securities dealers in making a market in the debt securities and other factors. Accordingly, no assurance can be given as to the liquidity of, or adequate trading markets for the debt securities.

Changes in our credit ratings may affect the value of the debt securities

        Our credit ratings are an assessment of our ability to pay our obligations. Consequently, real or anticipated changes in our credit ratings may affect the trading value of the debt securities. However, because your return on the debt securities depends upon factors in addition to our ability to pay our obligations, an improvement in our credit ratings will not reduce the other investment risks related to the debt securities. In addition, any reduction in our credit ratings could increase the cost of our funding from, and restrict our access to, the capital markets and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Our credit ratings may not reflect all risks of an investment in the debt securities

        The credit ratings of the debt securities may not reflect the potential impact of all risks related to structure and other factors on any trading market for, or trading value of, the debt securities. In addition, real or anticipated changes in our credit ratings will generally affect any trading market for, or trading value of, the debt securities.

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Redemption may adversely affect your return on the debt securities

        If your debt securities are redeemable at our option, we may choose to redeem your debt securities at times when prevailing interest rates are relatively low. In addition, if your debt securities are subject to mandatory redemption, we may be required to redeem your debt securities also at times when prevailing interest rates are relatively low. As a result, depending on market conditions at the time of a redemption, you may not be able to reinvest the redemption proceeds in a comparable security at an effective rate as high as your debt securities being redeemed.

Floating rate debt securities bear additional risks

        If your debt securities bear interest at a floating rate, there will be significant risks not associated with a conventional fixed rate debt security. These risks include fluctuation of the interest rates and the possibility that you will receive an amount of interest that is lower than expected. We have no control over a number of matters, including economic, financial and political events, that are important in determining the existence, magnitude and longevity of these risks and their results.

Uncertainty relating to the calculation of LIBOR and other reference rates and their potential discontinuance may materially adversely affect the value of the floating rate debt securities

        National and international regulators and law enforcement agencies have conducted investigations into a number of rates or indices which are deemed to be "reference rates." Actions by such regulators and law enforcement agencies may result in changes to the manner in which certain reference rates are determined, their discontinuance, or the establishment of alternative reference rates. In particular, on July 27, 2017, the Chief Executive of the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (the "FCA"), which regulates LIBOR, announced that the FCA will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. Such announcement indicates that the continuation of LIBOR on the current basis cannot and will not be guaranteed after 2021. Notwithstanding the foregoing, it appears highly likely that LIBOR will be discontinued or modified by 2021.

        At this time, it is not possible to predict the effect that these developments, any discontinuance, modification or other reforms to LIBOR or any other reference rate, or the establishment of alternative reference rates may have on LIBOR, other benchmarks or variable rate securities, including the floating rate debt securities. Uncertainty as to the nature of such potential discontinuance, modification, alternative reference rates or other reforms may materially adversely affect the trading market for securities linked to such benchmarks, including the floating rate debt securities. Furthermore, the use of alternative reference rates or other reforms could cause the interest rate calculated for the floating rate debt securities to be materially different than expected.

        If the calculation agent determines an alternative reference rate for LIBOR as described in "Description of Debt Securities—Provisions Applicable to Both Senior and Subordinated Debt Securities—LIBOR Debt Securities" herein or pursuant to the relevant information in an accompanying prospectus supplement, the calculation agent may, after consultation with us, make certain adjustments to such rate, including applying a spread thereon or with respect to the business day convention, interest determination dates and related provisions and definitions, to make such alternative reference rate comparable to LIBOR, in a manner that is consistent with industry-accepted practices for such alternative reference rate. See "Description of Debt Securities—Provisions Applicable to Both Senior and Subordinated Debt Securities—LIBOR Debt Securities" on page 16 hereof and any relevant information in the applicable prospectus supplement.

Changes in exchange rates and exchange controls could result in a substantial loss to you

        An investment in debt securities that are denominated in, or the payment of which is determined with reference to, a specified currency other than U.S. dollars entails significant risks that are not

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associated with a similar investment in a security denominated in U.S. dollars. Similarly, an investment in an indexed debt security, on which all or part of any payment due is based on a currency other than U.S. dollars, has significant risks that are not associated with a similar investment in non-indexed debt securities.

        Exchange rates are the result of the supply of, and the demand for, the relevant currencies. Changes in exchange rates result over time, and may vary considerably during the life of an investment denominated in or otherwise relating to a foreign currency, from the interaction of many factors directly or indirectly affecting economic and political conditions in the country or area of the applicable currency, including economic and political developments in other countries.

        Of particular importance to potential currency exchange risk are:

        All of these factors are, in turn, sensitive to the monetary, fiscal and trade policies pursued by the government of the applicable country and other countries important to international trade and finance.

        Exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and many other currencies have been highly volatile, and this volatility may continue or occur with respect to other currencies in the future. Fluctuations in currency exchange rates could adversely affect debt securities denominated in, or whose value is otherwise linked to, a specified currency other than U.S. dollars. Depreciation of the specified currency against the U.S. dollar could result in a decrease in the U.S. dollar-equivalent value of payments on the debt securities, including the principal payable at maturity or settlement value payable upon exercise. That in turn could cause the market value of the debt securities to fall. Depreciation of the specified currency against the U.S. dollar could result in a loss to the investor on a U.S. dollar basis.

        Governments have imposed from time to time, and may in the future impose, exchange controls that could affect exchange rates as well as the availability of a specified currency other than the U.S. dollar. There can be no assurance that exchange controls, or other circumstances beyond our control, will not restrict or prohibit payments of principal, premium (if any) or interest or other amounts payable (if any) denominated in any such specified currency. Similarly, in the case of indexed debt securities and depending on the specific terms of the debt securities, fluctuations of the relevant underlying currencies could result in no return or in a substantial loss to the investor.

The unavailability of currencies could result in a substantial loss to you

        Except as we may specify in an accompanying prospectus supplement, if payment on a debt security is required to be made in a specified currency other than U.S. dollars and such currency is:

then all payments with respect to the debt security shall be made in U.S. dollars until such currency is again available or so used. The amount so payable on any date in such foreign currency shall be

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converted into U.S. dollars at a rate determined on the basis of the most recently available market exchange rate for such currency or as otherwise indicated in an accompanying prospectus supplement. Any payment in respect of such debt security made under such circumstances in U.S. dollars will not constitute a default or an event of default under the indenture under which such debt security will have been issued.

        If the specified currency, currency unit or composite currency of a debt security is officially redenominated, then our payment obligations on such debt security will be the amount of redenominated currency, currency unit or composite currency that represents the amount of our obligations immediately before the redenomination.

        The debt securities will not provide for any adjustment to any amount payable under such debt securities as a result of:

        Currently, there are limited facilities in the United States for conversion of U.S. dollars into foreign currencies, and vice versa. In addition, banks do not generally offer non-U.S. dollar-denominated checking or savings account facilities in the United States. Accordingly, payments on debt securities made in a currency other than U.S. dollars will be made from an account at a bank located outside the United States, unless otherwise specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

Judgments in a foreign currency could result in a substantial loss to you

        The debt securities will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York. Courts in the United States customarily have not rendered judgments for money damages denominated in any currency other than U.S. dollars. A 1987 amendment to the Judiciary Law of New York State provides, however, that an action based on an obligation denominated in a currency other than U.S. dollars will be rendered in the foreign currency of the underlying obligation. If a debt security is denominated in a specified currency other than U.S. dollars, any judgment under New York law will be rendered in the foreign currency of the underlying obligation and converted into U.S. dollars at the rate of exchange prevailing on the date of the entry of the judgment or decree. There will be no provision for any further payments if exchange rates continue to change after the judgment is rendered.

An investment in indexed debt securities entails significant risks not associated with a similar investment in fixed or conventional floating rate debt securities

        An investment in indexed debt securities entails significant risks that are not associated with similar investments in a fixed rate or conventional floating rate debt security, and investors in certain indexed debt securities may lose their entire investment. These risks include the possibility that the applicable market measures may be subject to fluctuations, and the possibility that you will receive a lower, or no, amount of principal, premium, or interest, and at different times, than expected. In recent years, the values of certain indices have been highly volatile, and such volatility may continue in the future. Fluctuations in the value of any particular index that have occurred in the past, however, are not necessarily indicative of fluctuations that may occur in the future. Furthermore, the characterization of certain types of indexed debt securities or similar instruments is unclear for U.S. federal or other income tax purposes. As a result, the income tax consequences of an investment in indexed debt securities are uncertain. Additional risks that you should consider in connection with an investment in indexed debt securities are set forth in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

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The debt securities will be effectively subordinated to all of our existing and future secured debt and to the existing and future secured debt and to the existing and future debt of our subsidiaries

        Unless otherwise specified in the accompanying prospectus supplement, the debt securities will not be secured by any of our assets or the assets of our subsidiaries. As a result, the indebtedness represented by the debt securities will effectively be subordinated to any secured indebtedness we may incur, to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness. In the event of any distribution or payment of our assets in any foreclosure, dissolution, winding up, liquidation or reorganization or other bankruptcy proceeding, any secured creditors would have a superior claim to the extent of their collateral. In addition, the debt securities will not be guaranteed by any of our subsidiaries and therefore will be structurally subordinated to the existing and future indebtedness of our subsidiaries. In the event of the dissolution, winding up, liquidation or reorganization or other bankruptcy proceeding of a subsidiary, creditors of that subsidiary would generally have the right to be paid in full before any distribution is made to us or the holders of the debt securities. If any of the foregoing occur, we cannot assure you that there will be sufficient assets to pay amounts due on the debt securities.

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RATIO OF EARNINGS TO COMBINED FIXED CHARGES AND PREFERRED STOCK DIVIDENDS

        The following table shows our historical ratios of earnings to combined fixed charges and preferred stock dividends for the periods indicated:

 
  Years Ended December 31,  
 
  2017   2016   2015   2014   2013  

Ratio of earnings to combined fixed charges and preferred share dividends

  4.05x     5.38x     5.54x     6.22x     4.87x  

        In computing the ratio of earnings to combined fixed charges and preferred stock dividends, "earnings" consist of pretax income from continuing operations, interest expense and other adjustments. For purposes of the "earnings" computation, "other adjustments" include adding the amortization of capitalized interest, the distributed net income of affiliates accounted for under the equity method, the non-controlling interest in the earnings of majority-owned subsidiaries with fixed charges, and the interest component of rental expense, and subtracting undistributed net income of affiliates accounted for under the equity method.

        "Fixed charges" consist of interest expense and other adjustments, including capitalized interest costs and the interest component of rental expense. Interest expense includes interest expense related to the Card Member lending, Card Member charge card and other activities in our consolidated statements of income included in the documents incorporated by reference in this prospectus and an accompanying prospectus supplement. Interest expense does not include interest on liabilities recorded in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles governing accounting for uncertainty in income taxes. Our policy is to classify such interest in income tax provision in the consolidated statements of income.

        Preferred stock dividends represent pre-tax earnings that would be required to cover any preferred stock dividends, computed using our effective tax rate for the period.

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USE OF PROCEEDS

        Except as may be otherwise set forth in a prospectus supplement accompanying this prospectus, we will use the net proceeds we receive from sales of these securities for general corporate purposes.

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DESCRIPTION OF DEBT SECURITIES

        The following briefly summarizes certain of the material terms of our debt securities. Other pricing and related terms will be disclosed in an accompanying prospectus supplement. You should read any accompanying prospectus supplement for a more detailed description of a particular series of debt securities and other provisions that may be important to you.

        The debt securities covered by this prospectus will be our direct unsecured obligations. The debt securities will be either senior debt securities that rank on an equal basis with all of our other senior unsecured and unsubordinated debt, or subordinated debt securities that rank junior to all of our senior unsecured debt.

        We will issue our senior debt securities under a senior debt indenture, dated as of August 1, 2007, between us and The Bank of New York Mellon (formerly known as The Bank of New York), as trustee. We will issue our subordinated debt securities under a subordinated debt indenture, dated as of August 1, 2007, between us and The Bank of New York Mellon (formerly known as The Bank of New York), as trustee. The senior debt indenture and the subordinated debt indenture are sometimes referred to in this prospectus individually as an "indenture" and collectively as the "indentures." When we refer to the indentures in this prospectus, we mean the indentures as they have been supplemented.

        The indentures, together with a form of supplemental indenture, have been filed with the SEC as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part (including by cross-reference to our prior filings).

        The following summaries of certain provisions of the indentures are not complete and are qualified in their entirety by reference to the indentures. You should read the indentures for further information. If we make no distinction in the following summaries between the senior debt securities and the subordinated debt securities or between the indentures, such summaries refer to any debt securities and either indenture. Any reference to particular sections or defined terms of the applicable indenture in any statement under this heading qualifies the entire statement and incorporates by reference the applicable definition into that statement.

Provisions Applicable to Both Senior and Subordinated Debt Securities

Issuances in Series

        The indentures allow us to issue debt securities from time to time under either indenture without limitation as to amount. We may issue the debt securities in one or more series with the same or different terms. We need not issue all debt securities of the same series at the same time (provided that any further securities issued as part of a single series with any outstanding securities of any series will have a separate CUSIP number unless the further securities either (i) have no more than a de minimis amount of original issue discount for U.S. federal income tax purposes or (ii) are issued in a qualified reopening for U.S. federal income tax purposes). All debt securities of the same series need not bear interest at the same rate or mature on the same date. Each indenture permits the appointment of a different trustee for each series of debt securities. If there is at any time more than one trustee under the indentures, the term "trustee" means each such trustee and will apply to each such trustee only with respect to those series of debt securities for which it is serving as trustee.

        We may sell debt securities at a substantial discount below their stated principal amount that bear no interest or below market rates of interest. An accompanying prospectus supplement will describe the material federal income tax consequences and special investment considerations applicable to any such series of debt securities.

        Unless otherwise specified for debt securities denominated in a currency other than U.S. dollars or as otherwise specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement, we will issue debt securities only in

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fully registered form in minimum denominations of $2,000 and integral multiples of $1,000 in excess of that amount. The debt securities will be denominated in U.S. dollars and payments of principal of and premium, if any, and interest on the debt securities will be made in U.S. dollars unless we provide otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement. If any of the debt securities are to be denominated in a foreign currency or currency unit, or if the principal of and premium, if any, and any interest on any of the debt securities is to be payable at your option or at our option in a currency, including a currency unit, other than that in which such debt securities are denominated, we will provide additional information pertaining to such debt securities in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

        An accompanying prospectus supplement relating to any series of debt securities being offered will contain the specific terms relating to the offering. These terms will include some or all of the following (to the extent not otherwise described in this prospectus):

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Interest and Interest Rates

        Each debt security will bear interest from its date of issue or from the most recent date to which interest on that series of debt securities has been paid or duly provided for at the annual rate or at a rate determined according to an interest rate formula, stated in the debt security and in an accompanying prospectus supplement, until the principal of the debt security is paid or made available for payment. We will pay interest, if any, on each interest payment date and at maturity or upon redemption or repayment, if any. Interest payment date means the date on which payments of interest on a debt security (other than payments on maturity) are to be made. Maturity means the date on which the principal of a debt security becomes due and payable, whether at the stated maturity or by declaration of acceleration or otherwise. Stated maturity means the date specified in a debt security as the date on which principal of the debt security is due and payable. Any debt security that has a specified currency of pounds sterling will mature in compliance with the regulations the Bank of England may promulgate from time to time.

        We will pay interest to the person in whose name a debt security is registered at the close of business on the regular record date next preceding the applicable interest payment date. Regular record date means the date on which a debt security must be held in order for the holder to receive an interest payment on the next interest payment date. However, we will pay interest at maturity or upon redemption or repayment to the person to whom we pay the principal. The first payment of interest on any debt security originally issued between a regular record date and an interest payment date will be made on the interest payment date following the next succeeding regular record date to the registered owner on such next regular record date.

        The interest payment dates for fixed rate debt securities will be as indicated in an accompanying prospectus supplement, and unless we specify otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement, each regular record date for a fixed rate debt security will be the fifteenth day (whether or not a business day) next preceding each interest payment date. The interest payment dates for floating rate debt securities shall be as indicated in an accompanying prospectus supplement, and unless we specify otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement, each regular record date for a floating rate debt security will be the fifteenth day (whether or not a business day) next preceding each interest payment date.

        Each debt security will bear interest either at a fixed rate or a floating rate determined by reference to an interest rate formula that may be adjusted by a spread or spread multiplier, if any. Spread means the number of basis points, if any, to be added or subtracted to the Commercial Paper Rate, the Federal Funds Rate, LIBOR, EURIBOR, the Prime Rate, the Treasury Rate or any other interest rate index in effect from time to time with respect to a debt security, which amount will be set forth in such debt security and the related accompanying prospectus supplement. Spread multiplier means the percentage by which the Commercial Paper Rate, the Federal Funds Rate, LIBOR, EURIBOR, the Prime Rate, the Treasury Rate or any other interest rate index in effect from time to time with respect to a debt security is to be multiplied, which amount will be set forth in such debt security and the related accompanying prospectus supplement. Any floating rate debt security may also have either or both of the following: (1) a maximum numerical interest rate limitation, or ceiling, on the rate of interest that may accrue during any interest period; and (2) a minimum numerical interest rate limitation, or floor, on the rate of interest that may accrue during any interest period.

        An accompanying prospectus supplement will designate one of the following interest rate bases as applicable to each debt security:

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        We will specify in an accompanying prospectus supplement for each floating rate debt security the applicable index maturity for the debt security. Index maturity means the period of time designated by us as the representative maturity of the instrument or obligation with respect to which the interest rate basis or bases will be calculated as set forth in a floating rate debt security bearing interest at one of those rates and in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

Fixed Rate Debt Securities

        Each fixed rate debt security will bear interest from its date of issue at the annual rate stated on the debt security. Interest on each fixed rate debt security will be paid on the interest payment dates specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement and on the maturity date, or, if the debt security is redeemable and is redeemed prior to maturity, the date of redemption. Unless we specify otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement, interest on fixed rate debt securities will be computed and paid on the basis of a 360-day year of twelve 30-day months.

Floating Rate Debt Securities

        The interest rate on each floating rate debt security will be equal to either (1) the interest rate calculated by reference to the specified interest rate formula (as specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement) plus or minus the spread, if any, or (2) the interest rate calculated by reference to the specified interest rate formula multiplied by the spread multiplier, if any. We will specify in an accompanying prospectus supplement the interest rate basis and the spread or spread multiplier, if any, and the maximum or minimum interest rate limitation, if any, applicable to each floating rate debt security. In addition, such accompanying prospectus supplement may contain particulars as to the calculation agent, calculation dates, index maturity, initial interest rate, interest determination dates, interest payment dates, regular record dates and interest reset dates with respect to such debt security.

        Interest on each floating rate debt security will be paid on the interest payment dates specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement and on the maturity date, or, if the debt security is redeemable and is redeemed prior to maturity, the date of redemption.

        If any interest payment date for any floating rate debt security would otherwise be a day that is not a business day for that floating rate debt security, the interest payment date for that floating rate debt security shall be postponed to the next day that is a business day for that floating rate debt security, except that in the case of a LIBOR debt security or a EURIBOR debt security, if such day falls in the next calendar month, the interest payment date shall be the immediately preceding day that is a business day. If any such interest payment date (other than the maturity date or date of redemption) is postponed or brought forward as described above, the interest amount will be adjusted accordingly and the holder will be entitled to more or less interest, respectively. If the maturity date or date of redemption of a floating rate debt security falls on a day that is not a business day, the payment of principal, premium, if any, and interest, if any, will be made on the next succeeding business day, and we will not pay any additional interest for the period from and after the maturity date or date of redemption.

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        As used in this prospectus, and unless otherwise specified in the applicable prospectus supplement, "business day" means:

        The rate of interest on each floating rate debt security will be reset on the "interest reset date" as specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

        However, in each case the interest rate in effect from the date of issue to the first interest reset date with respect to a floating rate debt security will be the initial interest rate set forth in an accompanying prospectus supplement. If any interest reset date for any floating rate debt security would otherwise be a day that is not a business day for that floating rate debt security, the interest reset date for that floating rate debt security shall be postponed to the next day that is a business day for that floating rate debt security, except that in the case of a LIBOR debt security or a EURIBOR debt security, if such business day is in the next succeeding calendar month, the interest reset date shall be the immediately preceding business day.

        The interest rate applicable to each interest accrual period beginning on an interest reset date will be the rate determined on the calculation date, if any, by reference to the interest determination date. Calculation date means the date, if any, on which the calculation agent (as defined below) is to calculate an interest rate for a floating rate debt security.

        Unless otherwise specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement, the calculation date, where applicable, pertaining to any interest determination date will be the earlier of (a) the tenth calendar day after that interest determination date or, if such day is not a business day, the next succeeding business day or (b) the business day preceding the applicable interest payment date or maturity date, as the case may be. Calculation agent means the agent we appoint to calculate interest rates on floating rate debt securities. The calculation agent will be The Bank of New York Mellon unless we specify otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

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        The interest determination date pertaining to an interest reset date will be:

        Treasury bills are usually sold at auction on Monday of each week, unless that day is a legal holiday, in which case the auction is usually held on the following Tuesday, except that such auction may be held on the preceding Friday. If, as the result of a legal holiday, an auction is held on the preceding Friday, such Friday will be the interest determination date for the Treasury Rate debt security pertaining to the interest reset date occurring in the next succeeding week. If an auction date shall fall on any interest reset date for a Treasury Rate debt security, then such interest reset date shall instead be the first business day immediately following such auction date. Unless otherwise specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement, the interest determination date pertaining to a floating rate debt security, the interest rate of which is determined with reference to two or more interest rate bases, will be the latest business day which is at least two business days prior to each interest reset date for such floating rate debt security. Each interest rate basis will be determined and compared on such date, and the applicable interest rate will take effect on the related interest reset date, as specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

        Unless we specify otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement, the interest payable on each interest payment date or at maturity for floating rate debt securities will be the amount of interest accrued from and including the issue date or from and including the last interest payment date to which interest has been paid, as the case may be, to, but excluding, such interest payment date or the date of maturity, as the case may be.

        Accrued interest from the date of issue or from the last date to which interest has been paid is calculated by multiplying the face amount of a debt security by an accrued interest factor. This accrued interest factor is computed by adding the interest factors calculated for each day from and including the later of (a) the date of issue and (b) the last day to which interest has been paid or duly provided for to but excluding the last date for which accrued interest is being calculated. The interest factor (expressed as a decimal rounded to the nearest one hundred-thousandth of a percentage point (e.g., 9.876544% and 9.876545% being rounded to 9.87654% and 9.87655%, respectively)) for each such day is computed by dividing the interest rate (expressed as a decimal rounded to the nearest one hundred-thousandth of a percentage point) applicable to such date by 360, in the case of Commercial Paper Rate debt securities, Federal Funds Rate debt securities, LIBOR debt securities, EURIBOR debt securities and Prime Rate debt securities, or by the actual number of days in the year, in the case of Treasury Rate debt securities. All dollar amounts used in or resulting from calculations on floating rate debt securities will be rounded to the nearest cent with one half cent being rounded upward.

        The calculation agent will, upon the request of the holder of any floating rate debt security, provide the interest rate then in effect and, if determined, the interest rate that will become effective as a result of a determination made on the most recent interest determination date with respect to such debt security. For purposes of calculating the rate of interest payable on floating rate debt securities, we will enter into an agreement with the calculation agent.

In addition to any maximum interest rate that may be applicable to any floating rate debt security, the interest rate on the floating rate debt securities will in no event be higher than the maximum rate permitted by New York law as the same may be modified by United States law of general application. Under present

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New York law, the maximum rate of interest, with few exceptions, is 25% per year (calculated on a simple interest basis). This limit only applies to obligations that are less than $2,500,000.

Commercial Paper Rate Debt Securities

        A Commercial Paper Rate debt security will bear interest at an interest rate calculated with reference to the Commercial Paper Rate and the spread or spread multiplier, if any, that we specify in the Commercial Paper Rate debt security and in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

        Unless we indicate otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement, Commercial Paper Rate for any interest determination date will be the money market yield (calculated as described below) of the rate on that date for commercial paper having the index maturity designated in an accompanying prospectus supplement as such rate is published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in "Statistical Release H.15(519), Selected Interest Rates" or any successor publication, to which we refer as "H.15(519)," under the heading "Commercial Paper—Nonfinancial."

        The following procedures will be followed if the Commercial Paper Rate cannot be determined as described above:

        Money market yield will be a yield (expressed as a percentage rounded to the nearest one hundred-thousandth of a percentage point) calculated in accordance with the following formula:

    Money Market Yield   =   D × 360

360–(D × M)
  x   100    

where "D" refers to the annual rate for the commercial paper quoted on a bank discount basis and expressed as a decimal, and "M" refers to the actual number of days in the interest period for which interest is being calculated.

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Federal Funds Rate Debt Securities

        A Federal Funds Rate debt security will bear interest at an interest rate calculated with reference to the Federal Funds Rate and the spread or spread multiplier, if any, that we specify in the Federal Funds Rate debt security and in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

        Unless we indicate otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement, Federal Funds Rate for any interest determination date will be the rate on that date for federal funds as published in H.15(519) under the heading "Federal Funds (Effective)," as such rate is displayed on Reuters ("Reuters") (or any successor service) on page FEDFUNDS1 (or any page which may replace such page).

        The following procedures will be followed if the Federal Funds Rate cannot be determined as described above:

LIBOR Debt Securities

        A LIBOR debt security will bear interest at an interest rate calculated with reference to LIBOR and the spread or spread multiplier, if any, that we specify in the LIBOR debt security and in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

        Unless we indicate otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement, LIBOR will be determined by the calculation agent in accordance with the following provisions in the order set forth below:

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        "Index currency" means the currency (including currency units and composite currencies) specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement as the currency with respect to which LIBOR will be calculated. If no currency is specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement, the index currency will be U.S. dollars.

        "Designated LIBOR Page" means the display on page LIBOR01 (or any other page specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement) of Reuters (or any successor service) for the purpose of displaying the London interbank offered rates of major banks for the applicable index currency (or such other page as may replace that page on that service for the purpose of displaying such rates).

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EURIBOR Debt Securities

        Each EURIBOR debt security will bear interest for each interest reset period at an interest rate equal to EURIBOR and any spread or spread multiplier as specified in the debt security and an accompanying prospectus supplement.

        The calculation agent will determine EURIBOR on each EURIBOR determination date. The EURIBOR determination date is the second business day prior to the interest reset date for each interest reset period.

        On a EURIBOR determination date, the calculation agent will determine EURIBOR for each interest reset period as follows.

        The calculation agent will determine the offered rates for deposits in euros for the period of the index maturity specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement, commencing on the interest reset date, which appears on page EURIBOR01 on Reuters or any successor service as of 11:00 a.m., Brussels time, on that interest determination date.

        If EURIBOR cannot be determined on a EURIBOR determination date as described above, then the calculation agent will determine EURIBOR as follows:

        "Euro-zone" means the region comprised of the member states of the European Union that adopted the Euro as their single currency in accordance with the Treaty establishing the European Community, as amended.

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Prime Rate Debt Securities

        A Prime Rate debt security will bear interest at an interest rate calculated with reference to the Prime Rate and the spread or spread multiplier, if any, that we specify in the Prime Rate debt security and in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

        Unless we indicate otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement, Prime Rate for any interest determination date will be the rate on that date as published in H.15(519) under the heading "Bank Prime Loan."

        The following procedures will be followed if the Prime Rate cannot be determined as described above:

        "Reuters Screen USPRIME 1 Page" means the display designated as page "USPRIME 1" of the Reuters Monitor Money Rates Service, or any similar service, or any other page that may replace the USPRIME 1 Page on that service for the purpose of displaying prime rates or base lending rates of major United States banks.

Treasury Rate Debt Securities

        A Treasury Rate debt security will bear interest at an interest rate calculated with reference to the Treasury Rate and the spread or spread multiplier, if any, that we specify in the Treasury Rate debt security and in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

        Unless we indicate otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement, the Treasury Rate for any interest determination date will be the rate applicable to the auction held on such date of direct obligations of the United States ("Treasury bills") having the index maturity specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement as such rate appears opposite the caption "INVEST RATE" on the display on Reuters (or any successor service) on page USAUCTION10 (or any other page as may replace such page) or page USAUCTION11 (or any other page as may replace such page).

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        The following procedures will be followed if the Treasury Rate cannot be determined as above:

        Bond Equivalent Yield means a yield (expressed as a percentage) calculated as follows:

    Bond Equivalent Yield   =   D × N

360–(D × M)
  x   100    

where "D" refers to the applicable annual rate for the Treasury bills quoted on a bank discount basis and expressed as a decimal, "N" refers to 365 or 366, as the case may be, and "M" refers to the actual number of days in the interest period for which interest is being calculated.

Amortizing Debt Securities

        We may from time to time offer amortizing debt securities on which a portion or all of the principal amount is payable prior to stated maturity:

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        Further information concerning additional terms and conditions of any amortizing debt securities, including terms of repayment of such debt securities, will be set forth in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

Indexed Debt Securities

        We may also issue indexed debt securities on which the principal amount payable at maturity, premium, if any, and/or interest payments are determined with reference to the price or prices of specified commodities (including baskets of commodities), securities (including baskets of securities), interest rate indices, interest rate or exchange rate swap indices, the exchange rate of one or more specified currencies (including baskets of currencies or a composite currency) relative to an indexed currency, or such other price or exchange rate or other financial or non-financial index or indices as we may specify in such indexed debt security and in an accompanying prospectus supplement for the indexed debt security. Holders of indexed debt securities may receive a principal amount at maturity that is greater than, equal to, or less than the face amount of the indexed debt securities depending upon the relative value at maturity of the specified index. We will provide information on the method for determining the principal payable at maturity, premium, if any and/or interest payments in an accompanying prospectus supplement for the indexed debt securities. Certain historical information, where applicable, with respect to the specified indexed item or items and tax considerations associated with an investment in indexed debt securities will also be provided in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

        Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein or in an accompanying prospectus, for purposes of determining the rights of a holder of an indexed debt security in respect of voting for or against amendments to the indentures and modifications and the waiver of rights thereunder, the principal amount of such indexed debt security shall be deemed to be equal to the face amount thereof upon issuance. The amount of principal payable at maturity will be specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

Original Issue Discount Debt Securities

        We may issue original issue discount debt securities at an issue price (as specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement) that is less than 100% of the principal amount of such debt securities (i.e., par). Original issue discount debt securities may not bear any interest currently or may bear interest at a rate that is below market rates at the time of issuance. The difference between the issue price of an original issue discount debt security and par is referred to herein as the "discount." In the event of redemption, repayment or acceleration of maturity of an original issue discount debt security, the amount payable to the holder of an original issue discount debt security will be equal to the sum of (a) the issue price (increased by any accruals of discount) and, in the event of any redemption by us of such original issue discount debt security (if applicable), multiplied by the initial redemption percentage specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement (as adjusted by the initial redemption percentage reduction, if applicable) and (b) any unpaid interest on such original issue discount debt security accrued from the date of issue to the date of such redemption, repayment or acceleration of maturity.

        Unless otherwise specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement, for purposes of determining the amount of discount that has accrued as of any date on which a redemption, repayment or acceleration of maturity occurs for an original issue discount debt security, the discount will be accrued using a constant yield method. The constant yield will be calculated using a 30-day month, 360-day year convention, a compounding period that, except for the initial period (as defined below), corresponds to the shortest period between interest payment dates for the applicable original issue discount debt security (with ratable accruals within a compounding period), a coupon rate equal to the initial coupon rate applicable to such original issue discount debt security and an assumption that the maturity of such

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original issue discount debt security will not be accelerated. If the period from the date of issue to the initial interest payment date, or the initial period, for an original issue discount debt security is shorter than the compounding period for such original issue discount debt security, a proportionate amount of the yield for an entire compounding period will be accrued. If the initial period is longer than the compounding period, then such period will be divided into a regular compounding period and a short period with the short period being treated as provided in the preceding sentence. The accrual of the applicable discount may differ from the accrual of original issue discount for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code.

        Certain original issue discount debt securities may not be treated as having original issue discount for federal income tax purposes, and debt securities other than original issue discount debt securities may be treated as issued with original issue discount for federal income tax purposes. We refer you to "Certain U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences."

Payment

        Unless otherwise specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement, principal and premium, if any, and interest, if any, on the debt securities will be payable initially at the principal corporate trust office of the trustee. At our option, payment of interest may be made, subject to collection, by check mailed to the holders of record at the address registered with the trustee.

        If the principal of or premium, if any, and interest, if any, on any series of debt securities is payable in foreign currencies or if debt securities are sold for foreign currencies, the restrictions, elections, tax consequences, specific terms and other information with respect to such debt securities will be described in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

Modification of the Indenture

        We may make modifications and amendments to the indentures with respect to one or more series of debt securities by supplemental indentures without the consent of the holders of those debt securities in the following instances:

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        Any other modifications or amendments of the indentures by way of supplemental indenture require the consent of the holders of a majority in principal amount of the debt securities at the time outstanding of each series affected. However, no such modification or amendment may, without the consent of the holder of each debt security affected thereby:

Events of Default, Notice and Waiver

        The indentures provide holders of debt securities with remedies if we fail to perform specific obligations, such as making payments on the debt securities. You should review these provisions carefully in order to understand what constitutes an event of default under the indentures.

        Unless otherwise stated in an accompanying prospectus supplement, an event of default with respect to any series of debt securities will be:

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        An event of default with respect to a particular series of debt securities issued under the indentures does not necessarily constitute an event of default with respect to any other series of debt securities. The trustee may withhold notice to the holders of any series of debt securities of any default with respect to that series, except in the payment of principal, premium or interest, if it considers such withholding to be in the interests of the holders of that series.

        If an event of default with respect to any series of debt securities has occurred and is continuing, the trustee or the holders of 25% in aggregate principal amount of the debt securities of that series may declare the principal, or in the case of discounted debt securities, such portion thereof as may be described in an accompanying prospectus supplement, of all the debt securities of that series to be due and payable immediately.

        The indentures contain a provision entitling the trustee to be indemnified to its reasonable satisfaction by the holders before exercising any right or power under the indentures at the request of any of the holders. The indentures provide that the holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of any series may direct the time, method and place of conducting any proceeding for any remedy available to the trustee or exercising any trust or power conferred upon the trustee with respect to the debt securities of that series. The right of a holder to institute a proceeding with respect to the indentures is subject to certain conditions precedent including notice and indemnity to the trustee. However, the holder has an absolute right to receipt of principal and premium, if any, at stated maturity and interest on any overdue principal and interest or to institute suit for the enforcement thereof.

        The holders of not less than a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of any series under the indentures may on behalf of the holders of all the debt securities of that series waive any past defaults, except a default in payment of the principal of or premium, if any, or interest, if any, on any debt security of that series and a default in respect of a covenant or provision of the indentures that cannot be amended or modified without the consent of the holder of each debt security affected.

        We are required by the indentures to furnish to the trustee annual statements as to the fulfillment of our obligations under the indentures.

Redemption and Repayment

        Unless we specify otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement, the debt securities will not be redeemable prior to their stated maturity. If we so specify in an accompanying prospectus supplement, the debt security will be redeemable on or after the date or dates set forth in such supplement, either in whole or from time to time in part, at our option, at a redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount to be redeemed or at such other price or prices set forth in such prospectus supplement. We will pay interest accrued on a redeemed debt security to the date of redemption, and will give notice of redemption no more than 60 and not less than 30 days prior to the date of redemption. The debt securities will not be subject to any sinking fund or to any provisions for repayment at your option unless we specify otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

Defeasance of the Indentures and Debt Securities

        The indentures permit us to be discharged from our obligations under the indentures and with respect to a particular series of debt securities if we comply with the following procedures. This discharge from our obligations is referred to in this prospectus as defeasance.

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        Unless an accompanying prospectus supplement states otherwise, if we deposit with the trustee sufficient cash and/or government securities to pay and discharge the principal and premium, if any, and interest, if any, to the date of maturity of such series of debt securities, then from and after the ninety-first day following such deposit:

        The indentures also provides that the defeasance will not be effective unless we deliver to the trustee a written opinion of our counsel to the effect that holders of the debt securities subject to defeasance will not recognize gain or loss on those debt securities for federal income tax purposes solely as a result of the defeasance and that the holders of those debt securities will be subject to federal income tax in the same amounts and at the same times as would be the case if the defeasance had not occurred.

        Following the defeasance, holders of the applicable debt securities would be able to look only to the trust fund for payment of principal and premium, if any, and interest, if any, on their debt securities.

Governing Law

        The laws of the State of New York will govern the indentures and the debt securities.

Concerning the Trustee

        The Bank of New York Mellon, the trustee under the indentures, provides corporate trust services to us. In addition, affiliates of the trustee provide investment banking, bank and corporate trust services and extend credit to us and many of our subsidiaries. We and our affiliates may have other customary banking relationships (including other trusteeships) with the trustee.

Global Securities and Global Clearance and Settlement Procedures

        We may issue debt securities under a book-entry system in the form of one or more global securities. We will register the global securities in the name of a depositary or its nominee and deposit the global securities with that depositary. Unless we state otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement, The Depository Trust Company, New York, New York, or DTC, will be the depositary if we use a depositary.

        Following the issuance of a global security in registered form, the depositary will credit the accounts of its participants with the debt securities upon our instructions. Only persons who hold directly or indirectly through financial institutions that are participants in the depositary can hold beneficial interests in the global securities. Because the laws of some jurisdictions require certain types of purchasers to take physical delivery of such securities in definitive form, you may encounter difficulties in your ability to own, transfer or pledge beneficial interests in a global security.

        So long as the depositary or its nominee is the registered owner of a global security, we and the trustee will treat the depositary as the sole owner or holder of the debt securities for purposes of the applicable indenture. Therefore, except as set forth below, you will not be entitled to have debt securities registered in your name or to receive physical delivery of certificates representing the debt securities. Accordingly, you will have to rely on the procedures of the depositary and the participant in

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the depositary through whom you hold your beneficial interest in order to exercise any rights of a holder under the indenture. We understand that under existing practices, the depositary would act upon the instructions of a participant or authorize that participant to take any action that a holder is entitled to take.

        Unless stated otherwise in an accompanying prospectus supplement, you may elect to hold interests in the global securities through either DTC (in the United States) or Clearstream Banking, société anonyme, which we refer to as Clearstream, Luxembourg, or Euroclear Bank, S.A./N.V., or its successor, as operator of the Euroclear System, which we refer to as Euroclear, (outside of the United States) if you are participants of such systems, or indirectly through organizations that are participants in such systems. Interests held through Clearstream, Luxembourg and Euroclear will be recorded on DTC's books as being held by the U.S. depositary for each of Clearstream, Luxembourg and Euroclear, which U.S. depositaries will in turn hold interests on behalf of their participants' customers' securities accounts.

        As long as the debt securities of a series are represented by the global securities, we will pay principal of and interest and premium on those securities to or as directed by DTC as the registered holder of the global securities. Payments to DTC will be in immediately available funds by wire transfer. DTC, Clearstream, Luxembourg or Euroclear, as applicable, will credit the relevant accounts of their participants on the applicable date. Neither we nor the trustee will be responsible for making any payments to participants or customers of participants or for maintaining any records relating to the holdings of participants and their customers, and you will have to rely on the procedures of the depositary and its participants. If an issue of debt securities is denominated in a currency other than the U.S. dollar, we will make payments of principal and any interest in the foreign currency in which the debt securities are denominated or in U.S. dollars. DTC has elected to have all payments of principal and interest paid in U.S. dollars unless notified by any of its participants through which an interest in the debt securities is held that it elects, in accordance with, and to the extent permitted by, an accompanying prospectus supplement and the relevant debt security, to receive payment of principal or interest in the foreign currency. No fewer than 15 calendar days prior to the regular record date for a payment, a participant will be required to notify DTC of (a) its election to receive all, or the specified portion, of payment in the foreign currency and (b) its instructions for wire transfer of payment to a foreign currency account. DTC will notify the trustee or paying agent on or prior to the fifth business day after the regular record date for any payment of interest or dividends, and the tenth business day prior to the payment date for any payment of principal, with the amount of such payment to be received in such foreign currency and the applicable wire transfer instructions. The trustee or paying agent shall use such instructions to pay the participant directly. If DTC does not notify the trustee or paying agent, it is understood that only U.S. dollar payments are to be made in respect of the payment.

        We have been advised by DTC as follows:

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        According to DTC, the foregoing information with respect to DTC has been provided to the financial community for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a representation, warranty or contract modification of any kind.

        Global certificates are generally not transferable. We will issue physical certificates to beneficial owners of a global security if:

        If any of the events described in the preceding paragraph occurs, we will issue definitive securities in certificated form in an amount equal to a holder's beneficial interest in the securities. Definitive securities will be issued in minimum denominations of $2,000 and integral multiples of $1,000 in excess of that amount, and will be registered in the name of the person DTC specifies in a written instruction to the registrar of the debt securities.

        In the event that definitive securities are issued:

        You will be required to make your initial payment for the debt securities in immediately available funds. Secondary market trading between DTC participants will occur in the ordinary way in accordance with DTC rules and will be settled in immediately available funds using DTC's Same-Day Funds Settlement System. Secondary market trading between Clearstream, Luxembourg customers and/or Euroclear participants will occur in the ordinary way in accordance with the applicable rules and operating procedures of Clearstream, Luxembourg and Euroclear and will be settled using the procedures applicable to conventional eurobonds in immediately available funds.

        Cross-market transfers between persons holding directly or indirectly through DTC, on the one hand, and directly or indirectly through Clearstream, Luxembourg customers or Euroclear participants, on the other, will be effected in DTC in accordance with DTC rules on behalf of the relevant European international clearing system by U.S. depositary; however, such cross-market transactions will

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require delivery of instructions to the relevant European international clearing system by the counterparty in such system in accordance with its rules and procedures and within its established deadlines (based on European time). The relevant European international clearing system will, if the transaction meets its settlement requirements, deliver instructions to the U.S. depositary to take action to effect final settlement on its behalf by delivering or receiving debt securities in DTC, and making or receiving payment in accordance with normal procedures for same-day funds settlement applicable to DTC. Clearstream, Luxembourg customers and Euroclear participants may not deliver instructions directly to their respective U.S. depositaries.

        Because of time-zone differences, credits of debt securities received in Clearstream, Luxembourg or Euroclear as a result of a transaction with a DTC participant will be made during subsequent securities settlement processing and dated the business day following the DTC settlement date. Such credits or any transactions in such debt securities settled during such processing will be reported to the relevant Clearstream, Luxembourg customers or Euroclear participants on such business day. Cash received in Clearstream, Luxembourg or Euroclear as a result of sales of debt securities by or through a Clearstream, Luxembourg customer or a Euroclear participant to a DTC participant will be received with value on the DTC settlement date but will be available in the relevant Clearstream, Luxembourg or Euroclear cash account only as of the business day following settlement in DTC.

        Although DTC, Clearstream, Luxembourg and Euroclear have agreed to the foregoing procedures in order to facilitate transfers of debt securities among participants of DTC, Clearstream, Luxembourg and Euroclear, they are under no obligation to perform or continue to perform such procedures and such procedures may be discontinued at any time.

        The information in this section concerning DTC, Euroclear and Clearstream and their book-entry systems has been obtained from sources that we believe to be reliable, but we take no responsibility for the accuracy thereof.

Provisions Applicable Solely to Subordinated Securities

General

        We may issue subordinated debt securities in one or more series under the subordinated debt indenture. Holders of subordinated debt securities should recognize that contractual provisions in the subordinated debt indenture may prohibit us from making payments on these securities. The subordinated debt securities will rank on an equal basis with certain of our other subordinated debt that may be outstanding from time to time and will rank junior to all of our senior indebtedness, as defined below, including any senior debt securities, that may be outstanding from time to time.

        If subordinated debt securities are issued under the subordinated indenture, the aggregate principal amount of senior indebtedness outstanding as of a recent date will be set forth in an accompanying prospectus supplement. Neither the senior nor the subordinated indenture restricts the amount of senior indebtedness that we may incur.

Subordination

        The payment of the principal of, and premium, if any, and interest on the subordinated debt securities is expressly subordinated, to the extent and in the manner set forth in the subordinated indenture, in right of payment to the prior payment in full of all of our senior indebtedness. The term senior indebtedness is defined in the subordinated indenture as indebtedness we incur for money borrowed, all deferrals, renewals or extensions of any of that indebtedness and all evidences of indebtedness issued in exchange for any of that indebtedness. Senior indebtedness also includes our guarantees of the foregoing items of indebtedness for money borrowed by persons other than us,

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unless, in any such case, that indebtedness or guarantee provides by its terms that it will not constitute senior indebtedness.

        The subordinated debt indenture provides that, unless all principal of, and any premium or interest on, the senior indebtedness has been paid in full, or provision has been made to make these payments in full, no payment or other distribution may be made with respect to the subordinated indebtedness in the following circumstances:

        A merger, consolidation or conveyance of all or substantially all of our assets on the terms and conditions provided in the subordinated indenture will not be deemed a dissolution, winding-up, liquidation or reorganization for the purposes of these subordination provisions.

        If the holders of subordinated securities receive any payment or distribution of our assets not permitted by the subordination provisions, the holders of subordinated debt securities will have to repay that amount to the holders of the senior debt securities or to the trustee.

Subrogation

        After the payment in full of all senior indebtedness, the holders of the subordinated debt securities will be subrogated to the rights of the holders of senior indebtedness to receive payments or distributions of our assets or securities applicable to the senior indebtedness until the subordinated debt securities are paid in full. Under these subrogation provisions, no payments or distributions to the holders of senior indebtedness which otherwise would have been payable or distributable to holders of the subordinated debt securities will be deemed to be a payment by us to or on the account of the senior indebtedness. These provisions of the subordinated indenture are intended solely for the purpose of defining the relative rights of the holders of the subordinated debt securities and the holders of the senior debt securities. Nothing contained in the subordinated indenture is intended to impair our absolute obligation to pay the principal of and premium and interest on the subordinated debt securities in accordance with their terms or to affect the relative rights of the holders of the subordinated debt securities and our creditors other than the holders of the senior indebtedness. These subrogation provisions of the subordinated indenture will not prevent the holder of any subordinated debt security from exercising all remedies otherwise permitted by applicable law upon default of that security, subject to the rights of subordination described above.

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Provisions Applicable Solely to Senior Securities

Restrictions as to Liens

        The senior indenture includes a covenant providing that we will not at any time directly or indirectly create, or allow to exist or be created, any mortgage, pledge, encumbrance or lien of any kind upon:

        However, liens of this nature are permitted if we provide that the senior debt securities will be secured by the lien equally and ratably with any and all other obligations also secured, for as long as any other obligations of that type are so secured. Also, we may incur or allow to exist upon the stock of the principal subsidiaries liens for taxes, assessments or other governmental charges or levies which are not yet due or are payable without penalty or which we are contesting in good faith, or liens of judgments that are on appeal or are discharged within 60 days.

        This covenant will cease to be binding on us with respect to any series of the senior debt securities to which this covenant applies following discharge of those senior debt securities.

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DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED SHARES

General

        The following briefly summarizes certain of the material terms of our preferred shares. Other pricing and related terms will be disclosed in an accompanying prospectus supplement. You should read any accompanying prospectus supplement together with the certificate of designation relating to that series and our amended and restated certificate of incorporation for a more detailed description of a particular series of preferred shares and other provisions that may be important to you.

        Under our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, we are authorized to issue 20,000,000 preferred shares, par value $1.662/3 per share. At December 31, 2017, we had outstanding 750 shares of 5.200% Fixed Rate/Floating Rate Noncumulative Preferred Shares, Series B (the "Series B Preferred Stock") and 850 shares of 4.900% Fixed Rate/Floating Rate Noncumulative Preferred Shares, Series C (the "Series C Preferred Stock"). Our Board of Directors is authorized to issue our preferred shares from time to time in one or more series with such designations, voting powers, dividend rates, rights of redemption, conversion rights or other special rights, preferences and limitations as may be stated in resolutions adopted by our Board of Directors.

        The preferred shares will have the dividend, liquidation and voting rights set forth below unless otherwise provided in the prospectus supplement relating to a particular series of preferred shares. You should read the prospectus supplement relating to the particular series of the preferred shares being offered for specific terms, including:

        When issued, the preferred shares will be fully paid and nonassessable.

Dividend Rights

        All preferred shares will be of equal rank with each other regardless of series. If the stated dividends or the amounts payable on liquidation are not paid in full, the preferred shares of all series will share ratably in the payment of dividends and in any distribution of assets. All preferred shares will have dividend rights prior to the dividend rights of the common shares.

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Rights Upon Liquidation

        Unless otherwise specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement, in the event of a liquidation, each series of the preferred shares will rank on an equal basis with all other outstanding preferred shares and prior to the common stock as to dividends and distributions.

Voting Rights

        Except as described below, the holders of preferred shares have no voting rights, other than as may be required by law. Whenever dividends payable on the preferred shares of any series will be in arrears in an aggregate amount at least equal to six full quarterly dividends on that series, the holders of the outstanding preferred shares of all series will have the special right, voting separately as a single class, to elect two directors at the next succeeding annual meeting of shareholders. Subject to the terms of any outstanding series of preferred shares, the holders of common stock and the holders of one or more series of preferred shares then entitled to vote will have the right, voting as a single class, to elect the remaining authorized number of directors.

        At each meeting of shareholders at which the holders of the preferred shares will have this special right, the presence in person or by proxy of the holders of record of one-third of the total number of the preferred shares of all series then issued and outstanding will constitute a quorum of that class. Each director elected by the holders of the preferred shares of all series will hold office until the annual meeting of shareholders next succeeding that election and until that director's successor, if any, is elected by those holders and qualified or until the death, resignation or removal of that director in the manner provided in our by-laws. A director elected by the holders of the preferred shares of all series may only be removed without cause by those holders. In case any vacancy will occur among the directors elected by the holders of the preferred shares of all series, that vacancy may be filled for the unexpired portion of the term by vote of the remaining directors elected by such shareholders, or that director's successor in office. If such vacancy occurs more than 90 days prior to the first anniversary of the next preceding annual meeting of shareholders, the vacancy may be filled by the vote of those shareholders taken at a special meeting of those shareholders called for that purpose. Whenever all arrears of dividends on the preferred shares of all series will have been paid and dividends for the current quarterly period will have been paid or declared and provided for, the right of the holders of the preferred shares of all series to elect two directors will terminate at the next succeeding annual meeting of shareholders.

        The consent of the holders of at least two-thirds of the outstanding preferred shares voting separately as a single class will be required for:

        In any case in which the holders of the preferred shares will be entitled to vote separately as a single class, each holder of preferred shares of any series will be entitled to one vote for each such share held.

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DESCRIPTION OF DEPOSITARY SHARES

        The following briefly summarizes certain of the material terms of our depositary receipts. Other pricing and related terms will be disclosed in an accompanying prospectus supplement. You should read any accompanying prospectus supplement together with the deposit agreement and depositary receipts relating to each series of preferred shares filed with the SEC in connection with the offering of that series of depositary receipts.

        We may elect to offer fractional interests in preferred shares rather than preferred shares, with those rights and subject to the terms and conditions that we may specify in the related prospectus supplement. If we do, we will select a depositary that will issue to the public receipts for depositary shares, each of which will represent fractional interests of a particular series of preferred shares. These depositary receipts will be distributed in accordance with the terms of the offering described in the related prospectus supplement.

        The depositary will be a bank or trust company that has its principal office in the United States. We will deposit the preferred shares underlying the depositary shares with the depositary under the terms of a separate deposit agreement. The prospectus supplement relating to a series of depositary shares will set forth the name and address of the depositary.

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DESCRIPTION OF COMMON SHARES

        The following briefly summarizes certain of the material terms of our common shares. Other pricing and related terms will be disclosed in an accompanying prospectus supplement. You should read any accompanying prospectus supplement for a more detailed description of a particular series of common shares and other provisions that may be important to you. The following description of the common shares does not purport to be complete and is subject to, and qualified in its entirety by reference to the applicable provisions of the New York Business Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our by-laws.

        We are authorized to issue up to 3,600,000,000 common shares, par value $0.20 each. At December 31, 2017, we had outstanding 858,744,953 common shares. As of December 31, 2017, we had reserved approximately 29 million common shares for issuance under employee stock and employee benefit plans.

        Dividends.    Subject to the prior rights of holders of any preferred shares, holders of common shares are entitled to receive dividends when, as and if declared by our Board of Directors out of funds legally available for that purpose.

        Liquidation Rights.    In the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, after the satisfaction in full of the liquidation preferences of holders of any preferred shares, holders of common shares are entitled to ratable distribution of the remaining assets available for distribution to shareholders.

        Voting Rights.    Each common share is entitled to one vote on all matters submitted to a vote of shareholders. Holders of the common shares do not have cumulative voting rights.

        No Redemption Provisions.    The common shares are not subject to redemption by operation of a sinking fund or otherwise.

        No Preemptive Rights.    Holders of common shares are not entitled to preemptive rights.

        No Assessment.    The issued and outstanding common shares are fully paid and non-assessable.

        Transfer Agent and Registrar.    The transfer agent and registrar for the common shares is Computershare, P.O. Box 43006, Providence, RI 02940-3006.

        Certain provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our by-laws as well as the New York Business Corporations Law may have the effect of encouraging persons considering unsolicited tender offers or unilateral takeover proposals for us to negotiate with the Board of Directors and could thereby have an effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control. These provisions include:

        Authorized But Unissued Shares.    As of December 31, 2017, 2,738,400,423 common shares were authorized but unissued and 2,854,624 common shares were held by us as treasury shares. Such shares could be issued without stockholder approval in transactions that might prevent or render more difficult or costly the completion of a takeover transaction. In this regard, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation grants the Board of Directors broad corporate power to establish the rights and preferences of preferred stock, one or more classes or series of which could be issued which would entitle holders to exercise rights which could have the effect of impeding a takeover, including rights to convert or exchange the stock into common shares or other securities or to demand redemption of the stock at a specified price under prescribed circumstances related to a change of control.

        Advance Notice By-law.    Under our by-laws, written notice of any proposal to be presented by any shareholder or any person to be nominated by any shareholder for election as a director must be

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received by our corporate secretary at our principal executive offices not less than 90 nor more than 120 days prior to the anniversary of the preceding year's annual meeting; provided, however, that if the date of the annual meeting is not within 25 days before or after such anniversary date, such notice must be received not later than 10 days following the day on which the date of the meeting is first disclosed to the shareholders or publicly, whichever occurs first.

        Anti-Takeover Provisions under New York Law.    We are subject to Section 912 of the New York Business Corporation Law. With specified exemptions, this statute prohibits a New York corporation listed on a national securities exchange from engaging in a business combination (as defined in Section 912(a)(5)) with an interested stockholder (generally, a person that, together with its affiliates and associates, owns 20% or more of the corporation's voting stock) for a period of five years after the date of the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder.

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DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES WARRANTS

        The following briefly summarizes certain of the material terms of our securities warrants. Other pricing and related terms will be disclosed in an accompanying prospectus supplement. You should read any accompanying prospectus supplement for a more detailed description of a particular series of securities warrants and other provisions that may be important to you.

        We may issue warrants for the purchase of:

        Each securities warrant will entitle the holder to purchase for cash the amount of securities at the exercise price stated or determinable in the prospectus supplement for the securities warrants. We may issue these securities warrants independently or together with any other securities offered by any prospectus supplement. The securities warrants may be attached to or separate from those securities. Each series of securities warrants will be issued under a separate warrant agreement to be entered into between us and a warrant agent. The warrant agent will act solely as our agent in connection with the securities warrants of that series and will not assume any obligation or relationship of agency or trust for or with any holders or beneficial owners of such securities warrants.

        The prospectus supplement relating to any securities warrants that we may offer will contain the specific terms of the securities warrants. These terms will include some or all of the following:

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DESCRIPTION OF OTHER WARRANTS

        The following briefly summarizes certain of the material terms of certain potential other warrants. Other pricing and related terms will be disclosed in an accompanying prospectus supplement. You should read any accompanying prospectus supplement for a more detailed description of a particular series of warrants and other provisions that may be important to you.

        We may issue other warrants to buy or sell:

        We refer to the property in the above clauses as the warrant property. Other warrants will be settled either through physical delivery of the warrant property or through payment of a cash settlement value as set forth in an accompanying prospectus supplement. Other warrants will be issued under a warrant agreement to be entered into between us and a warrant agent. The other warrant agent will act solely as our agent under the applicable other warrant agreement and will not assume any obligation or relationship of agency or trust for or with any holder or beneficial owner of such other warrants.

        The prospectus supplement relating to any other warrants that we may offer will contain the specific terms of the other warrants. These terms will include some or all of the following:

        The other warrants may entail significant risks, including, without limitation, the possibility of significant fluctuations in the market for the applicable warranty property, potential illiquidity in the secondary market and the risk that they will expire worthless. These risks will vary depending on the particular terms of the other warrants and will be more fully described in an accompanying prospectus supplement.

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ERISA CONSIDERATIONS

        A fiduciary of a pension, profit-sharing or other employee benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, to which we refer as ERISA, should consider the fiduciary standards of ERISA in the context of the ERISA plan's particular circumstances before authorizing an investment in the offered securities. Among other factors, the fiduciary should consider whether such an investment is in accordance with the documents governing the ERISA plan and whether the investment is appropriate for the ERISA plan in view of its overall investment policy and diversification of its portfolio.

        Certain provisions of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, to which we refer as the Code, prohibit employee benefit plans (as defined in Section 3(3) of ERISA) that are subject to Title I of ERISA, plans described in Section 4975(e)(1) of the Code (including, without limitation, retirement accounts and Keogh Plans), and entities whose underlying assets include plan assets by reason of a plan's investment in such entities (including, without limitation, as applicable, insurance company general accounts), from engaging in certain transactions involving "plan assets" with parties that are "parties in interest" under ERISA or "disqualified persons" under the Code with respect to the plan or entity. Governmental and other plans that are not subject to ERISA or to the Code may be subject to similar restrictions under non-U.S. federal, state or local law ("similar law"). Any employee benefit plan or other entity, to which such provisions of ERISA, the Code or similar law apply, proposing to acquire the offered securities should consult with its legal counsel.

        We, directly or through our affiliates, may be considered a "party in interest" or a "disqualified person" to a large number of plans. A purchase of offered securities by any such plan would be likely to result in a prohibited transaction between us and the plan.

        Accordingly, unless otherwise provided in the related prospectus supplement, offered securities may not be purchased, held or disposed of by any plan or any other person investing "plan assets" of any plan that is subject to the prohibited transaction rules of ERISA or Section 4975 of the Code or other similar law, unless one of the following statutory exemptions, Prohibited Transaction Class Exemptions, to which we refer as PTCE, issued by the United States Department of Labor or a similar exemption or exception applies to such purchase, holding and disposition:

        In addition, Section 408(b)(17) of ERISA and Section 4975(d)(20) of the Code provide an exemption for the purchase and sale of securities and related lending transactions, provided that neither the issuer of the securities nor any of its affiliates have or exercise any discretionary authority or control or render any investment advice with respect to the assets of any plan involved in the transaction, and provided further that the plan pays no more than "adequate consideration" in connection with the transaction (the "service provider exemption").

        Unless otherwise provided in an accompanying prospectus supplement, any purchaser of the offered securities or any interest therein will be deemed to have represented and warranted to us on each day including the dates of its purchase of the offered securities through and including the date of disposition of such offered securities that either:

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        Due to the complexity of these rules and the penalties imposed upon persons involved in prohibited transactions, it is important that any person considering the purchase of the offered securities with plan assets consult with its counsel regarding the consequences under ERISA and the Code, or other similar law, of the acquisition and ownership of offered securities and the availability of exemptive relief under the exemptions listed above.

        Please consult the accompanying prospectus supplement for further information with respect to a particular offering of securities.

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TAXATION

Certain U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences

        The following is a summary of certain U.S. federal income tax considerations that may be relevant to persons considering the purchase of the debt securities covered by this prospectus. This summary does not address U.S. federal income tax considerations that may be relevant to persons considering the purchase of the preferred shares, depositary shares, common shares, securities warrants or other warrants covered by this prospectus. For a discussion of certain U.S. federal income tax considerations that may be relevant to persons considering the purchase of preferred shares, depositary shares, common shares, securities warrants or other warrants, please refer to the applicable prospectus supplement. Persons considering the purchase of warrants should consult their own tax advisors regarding the tax consequences of the purchase, ownership and disposition thereof. This summary, which does not represent tax advice, is based on laws, regulations, rulings and decisions now in effect, all of which are subject to change (including changes in effective dates) or possible differing interpretations.

        This summary deals only with debt securities that will be held as capital assets and, except where otherwise specifically stated, is addressed only to persons who purchase debt securities in the initial offering. It does not address tax considerations applicable to investors that may be subject to special tax rules, such as banks, tax-exempt entities, regulated investment companies, insurance companies, dealers in securities or currencies, traders in securities electing to mark to market, entities taxed as partnerships or the partners therein, persons that will hold debt securities as a position in a "straddle" or conversion transaction, or as part of a "synthetic security" or other integrated financial transaction, persons that have a "functional currency" other than the U.S. dollar, or U.S. expatriates. Further, this summary does not address the alternative minimum tax, the Medicare tax on net investment income or other aspects of U.S. federal income or state and local taxation that may be relevant to a holder in light of such holder's particular circumstances. Prospective purchasers of debt securities should review the applicable prospectus supplements for summaries of special U.S. federal income tax considerations that may be relevant to a particular issue of debt securities, including any floating rate debt securities, amortizing debt securities, indexed debt securities or foreign currency debt securities (defined below).

        As used herein, the term "United States Holder" means a beneficial owner of a debt security that is (i) a citizen or resident of the United States; (ii) a corporation (or an entity taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes), that was established under the laws of the United States, any state thereof, or the District of Columbia; or (iii) an estate or trust whose world- wide income is subject to U.S. federal income tax. As used herein, the term "Non-United States Holder" means a beneficial owner of a debt security that is not a United States Holder.

Tax Consequences to United States Holders

        United States Holders that use an accrual method of accounting for tax purposes ("accrual method holders") generally are required to include certain amounts in income no later than the time such amounts are reflected on certain financial statements (the "book/tax conformity rule"). The application of the book/tax conformity rule thus may require the accrual of income earlier than would be the case under the general tax rules described below, although it is not clear to what types of income the book/tax conformity rule applies. This rule generally is effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017 or, for debt securities issued with original issue discount, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2018. Accrual method holders should consult with their tax advisors regarding the potential applicability of the book/tax conformity rule to their particular situation.

        Payments of Interest.    Payments of qualified stated interest (as defined below under "—Original Issue Discount") on a debt security, but excluding any pre-issuance accrued interest, will be taxable to a

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United States Holder as ordinary interest income at the time that such payments are accrued or are received (in accordance with the United States Holder's method of tax accounting).

        Unless otherwise specified in an applicable prospectus supplement, debt securities will be denominated in U.S. dollars and payments of principal of, and interest on, debt securities will be made in U.S. dollars. Debt securities may be denominated in a currency other than U.S. dollars, which we refer to as foreign currency debt securities. If such payments of interest are made with respect to a foreign currency debt security, the amount of interest income realized by a United States Holder that uses the cash method of tax accounting will be the U.S. dollar value of the specified currency payment based on the exchange rate in effect on the date of receipt regardless of whether the payment in fact is converted into U.S. dollars. A United States Holder that uses the accrual method of accounting for tax purposes will accrue interest income on the foreign currency debt security in the relevant foreign currency and translate the amount accrued into U.S. dollars based on the average exchange rate in effect during the interest accrual period (or portion thereof within the United States Holder's taxable year) or, at the accrual-basis United States Holder's election, at the spot rate of exchange on the last day of the accrual period (or the last day of the taxable year within such accrual period if the accrual period spans more than one taxable year), or at the spot rate of exchange on the date of receipt, if such date is within five business days of the last day of the accrual period. A United States Holder that makes such election must apply it consistently to all debt instruments from year to year and cannot change the election without the consent of the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS. A United States Holder that uses the accrual method of accounting for tax purposes will recognize foreign currency gain or loss, as the case may be, on the receipt of an interest payment made with respect to a foreign currency debt security if the exchange rate in effect on the date the payment is received differs from the rate applicable to a previous accrual of that interest income. This foreign currency gain or loss will be treated as ordinary income or loss but generally will not be treated as an adjustment to interest income received on the debt security.

        Purchase, Sale, Exchange and Retirement of Debt Securities.    A United States Holder's tax basis in a debt security generally will equal the cost of such debt security to such holder, increased by any amounts includible in income by the holder as original issue discount and market discount and reduced by any amortized premium (each as described below) and any payments other than payments of qualified stated interest (as defined below) made on such debt security.

        In the case of a foreign currency debt security, the cost of such debt security to a United States Holder will be the U.S. dollar value of the foreign currency purchase price on the date of purchase. In the case of a foreign currency debt security that is traded on an established securities market, a cash-basis United States Holder (and, if it so elects, an accrual-basis United States Holder) will determine the U.S. dollar value of the cost of such debt security by translating the amount paid at the spot rate of exchange on the settlement date of the purchase. The amount of any subsequent adjustments to a United States Holder's tax basis in a debt security in respect of original issue discount, market discount and premium denominated in a specified currency will be determined in the manner described under "—Original Issue Discount" and "—Premium and Market Discount" below. The conversion of U.S. dollars to a specified currency and the immediate use of the specified currency to purchase a foreign currency debt security generally will not result in taxable gain or loss for a United States Holder.

        Upon the sale, exchange or retirement of a debt security, a United States Holder generally will recognize gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized on the sale, exchange or retirement (less any accrued qualified stated interest, which will be taxable as such) and the United States Holder's tax basis in such debt security. If a United States Holder receives a currency other than the U.S. dollar in respect of the sale, exchange or retirement of a debt security, the amount realized will be the U.S. dollar value of the specified currency received calculated at the exchange rate in effect on the date the instrument is disposed of or retired. In the case of a foreign currency debt security that

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is traded on an established securities market, a cash-basis United States Holder and, if it so elects, an accrual-basis United States Holder will determine the U.S. dollar value of the amount realized by translating such amount at the spot rate on the settlement date of the sale. The election available to accrual-basis United States Holders in respect of the purchase and sale of foreign currency debt securities traded on an established securities market, discussed above, must be applied consistently to all debt instruments from year to year and cannot be changed without the consent of the IRS.

        Except as discussed below with respect to market discount, short-term debt securities (as defined below) and foreign currency gain or loss, gain or loss recognized by a United States Holder generally will be long-term capital gain or loss if the United States Holder has held the debt security for more than one year at the time of disposition. Long-term capital gains recognized by an individual United States Holder generally are subject to tax at a lower rate than short-term capital gains or ordinary income. The deductibility of capital losses is subject to limitations.

        Gain or loss recognized by a United States Holder on the sale, exchange or retirement of a foreign currency debt security generally will be treated as ordinary income or loss to the extent that the gain or loss is attributable to changes in exchange rates during the period in which the holder held such debt security. This foreign currency gain or loss will not be treated as an adjustment to interest income received on the debt securities.

        Original Issue Discount.    United States Holders of debt securities with original issue discount, or OID, generally will be subject to the special tax accounting rules for obligations issued with OID provided by the Code and certain regulations promulgated thereunder, which we refer to as the OID Regulations. Debt securities issued with OID will be referred to as original issue discount debt securities. Notice will be given in the applicable prospectus supplement when we determine that a particular debt security is an original issue discount debt security. United States Holders of such original issue discount debt securities should be aware that, as described in greater detail below, they generally must include OID in ordinary gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes as it accrues, in advance of the receipt of cash attributable to that income.

        A debt security will generally be considered to be issued with OID if its stated redemption price at maturity (as defined below) exceeds its issue price (as defined below) by more than a de minimis amount (generally, 0.25% of such stated redemption price multiplied by the number of complete years to maturity). The "stated redemption price at maturity" of a debt security is generally the sum of all payments to be made on the debt security other than payments of qualified stated interest. "Qualified stated interest" is generally stated interest that is unconditionally payable in cash or in property (other than our debt instruments) at least annually during the entire term of a debt security at a single fixed rate or, subject to certain conditions, based on one or more interest indices. The "issue price" of each debt security in a particular offering will generally be the first price at which a substantial amount of that particular offering is sold to the public (ignoring sales to underwriters, placement agents or wholesalers).

        In general, each United States Holder of an original issue discount debt security, whether such holder uses the cash or the accrual method of tax accounting, will be required to include in ordinary gross income the sum of the "daily portions" of OID on the debt security for all days during the taxable year that the United States Holder owns the debt security. The daily portions of OID on an original issue discount debt security are determined by allocating to each day in any accrual period a ratable portion of the OID allocable to that accrual period. Accrual periods may be any length and may vary in length over the term of an original issue discount debt security, provided that no accrual period is longer than one year and each scheduled payment of principal or interest occurs on either the final day or the first day of an accrual period. In the case of an initial United States Holder, the amount of OID on an original issue discount debt security allocable to each accrual period is determined by (a) multiplying the adjusted issue price (as defined below) of the original issue discount

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debt security at the beginning of the accrual period by the yield to maturity (as defined below) of such original issue discount debt security (appropriately adjusted to reflect the length of the accrual period) and (b) subtracting from that product the amount (if any) of qualified stated interest allocable to that accrual period. The "yield to maturity" of a debt security is the discount rate that causes the present value of all payments on the debt security as of its original issue date to equal the issue price of such debt security. The "adjusted issue price" of an original issue discount debt security at the beginning of any accrual period will generally be the sum of its issue price (generally including accrued interest, if any) and the amount of OID allocable to all prior accrual periods, reduced by the amount of all payments other than payments of qualified stated interest (if any) made with respect to such debt security in all prior accrual periods. As a result of this "constant-yield" method of including OID in income, the amounts includible in income by a United States Holder in respect of an original issue discount debt security denominated in U.S. dollars generally are lesser in the early years and greater in the later years than the amounts that would be includible on a straight-line basis.

        The application of the book-tax conformity rule to OID and de minimis OID is uncertain in some respects. The book/tax conformity rule applies to OID in some cases, and therefore may require accrual method holders to include OID on original issue discount debt securities in a more accelerated manner than described above if they do so for financial accounting purposes. It is uncertain what adjustments, if any, should be made in later accrual periods when taxable income exceeds income reflected on the United States Holder's financial statements to reflect the accelerated accrual of income in earlier periods. In addition, it is possible, although less likely, that accrual method holders may be required to include de minimis OID in gross income as the de minimis OID accrues for financial statement purposes.

        A United States Holder generally may make an irrevocable election to include in its income its entire return on a debt security (i.e., the excess of all remaining payments to be received on the debt security, including payments of qualified stated interest, over the amount paid by such United States Holder for such debt security) under the constant-yield method described above. For debt securities purchased at a premium or bearing market discount in the hands of the United States Holder, the United States Holder making such election will also be deemed to have made the election (discussed below under "—Premium and Market Discount") to amortize premium or to accrue market discount in income currently on a constant-yield basis.

        In the case of an original issue discount debt security that is also a foreign currency debt security, a United States Holder should determine the U.S. dollar amount includible in income as OID for each accrual period by (a) calculating the amount of OID allocable to each accrual period in the specified currency using the constant-yield method described above, and (b) translating the amount of the specified currency so derived at the average exchange rate in effect during that accrual period (or portion thereof within a United States Holder's taxable year) or, at the United States Holder's election (as described above under "—Payments of Interest"), at the spot rate of exchange on the last day of the accrual period (or the last day of the taxable year within such accrual period if the accrual period spans more than one taxable year), or at the spot rate of exchange on the date of receipt, if such date is within five business days of the last day of the accrual period. Because exchange rates may fluctuate, a United States Holder of an original issue discount debt security that is also a foreign currency debt security may recognize a different amount of OID income in each accrual period than would the holder of an otherwise similar original issue discount debt security denominated in U.S. dollars. All payments on an original issue discount debt security (other than payments of qualified stated interest) will generally be viewed first as payments of previously accrued OID (to the extent thereof), with payments attributed first to the earliest-accrued OID, and then as payments of principal. Upon the receipt of an amount attributable to OID (whether in connection with a payment of an amount that is not qualified stated interest or the sale or retirement of the original issue discount debt security), a United States Holder will recognize ordinary income or loss measured by the difference between the amount received

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(translated into U.S. dollars at the exchange rate in effect on the date of receipt or on the date of disposition of the original issue discount debt security, as the case may be) and the amount accrued (using the exchange rate applicable to such previous accrual).

        A subsequent United States Holder of an original issue discount debt security that purchases the debt security at a cost less than its remaining redemption amount (as defined below), or an initial United States Holder that purchases an original issue discount debt security at a price other than the debt security's issue price, also generally will be required to include in gross income the daily portions of OID, calculated as described above. However, if the United States Holder acquires the original issue discount debt security at a price greater than its adjusted issue price, such holder is required to reduce its periodic inclusions of OID income to reflect the premium paid over the adjusted issue price. The "remaining redemption amount" for a debt security is the total of all future payments to be made on the debt security other than payments of qualified stated interest.

        Floating rate debt securities generally will be treated as "variable rate debt instruments" under the OID Regulations. Accordingly, the stated interest on a floating rate debt security generally will be treated as "qualified stated interest" and such a debt security will not have OID solely as a result of the fact that it provides for interest at a variable rate. If a floating rate debt security qualifying as a "variable rate debt instrument" is an original issue discount debt security, for purposes of determining the amount of OID allocable to each accrual period under the rules above, the debt security's "yield to maturity" and "qualified stated interest" will generally be determined as though the debt security bore interest in all periods at a fixed rate determined at the time of issuance of the debt security. Additional rules may apply if interest on a floating rate debt security is based on more than one interest index. If a floating rate debt security does not qualify as a "variable rate debt instrument", such debt security will be subject to special rules, which we refer to as the Contingent Payment Regulations, that govern the tax treatment of debt obligations that provide for contingent payments, which we refer to as Contingent Debt Obligations. A detailed description of the tax considerations relevant to United States Holders of any such Contingent Debt Obligations will be provided in the applicable prospectus supplement.

        Certain of the debt securities may be subject to special redemption, repayment or interest rate reset features, as indicated in the accompanying prospectus supplement. Debt securities containing such features, in particular original issue discount debt securities, may be subject to special rules that differ from the general rules discussed above. Purchasers of debt securities with such features should carefully examine the applicable prospectus supplement and should consult their own tax advisors with respect to such debt securities because the tax consequences with respect to such features, and especially with respect to OID, will depend, in part, on the particular terms of the purchased debt securities.

        Premium and Market Discount.    A United States Holder of a debt security that purchases the debt security at a cost greater than its remaining redemption amount (as defined in the third preceding paragraph) will be considered to have purchased the debt security at a premium, and may elect to amortize such premium (as an offset to interest income), using a constant-yield method, over the remaining term of the debt security. Such election, once made, generally applies to all bonds held or subsequently acquired by the United States Holder on or after the first taxable year to which the election applies and may not be revoked without the consent of the IRS. A United States Holder that elects to amortize such premium must reduce its tax basis in a debt security by the amount of the premium amortized during its holding period. Original issue discount debt securities purchased at a premium will not be subject to the OID rules described above.

        In the case of premium in respect of a foreign currency debt security, a United States Holder should calculate the amortization of such premium in the specified currency. Amortization deductions attributable to a period reduce interest income attributable to payments in respect of that period and therefore are translated into U.S. dollars at the exchange rate used by the United States Holder for

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such interest payments. Exchange gain or loss will be realized with respect to amortized bond premium on such a debt security based on the difference between the exchange rate on the date or dates such premium is recovered through interest payments on the debt security and the exchange rate on the date on which the United States Holder acquired the debt security.

        With respect to a United States Holder that does not elect to amortize such premium, the amount of such premium will be included in the United States Holder's tax basis when the debt security matures or is disposed of by the United States Holder. Therefore, a United States Holder that does not elect to amortize such premium and that holds the debt security to maturity generally will be required to treat the premium as a capital loss when the debt security matures.

        If a United States Holder of a debt security purchases the debt security at a price that is lower than its remaining redemption amount or, in the case of an original issue discount debt security, its adjusted issue price, by at least 0.25% of its remaining redemption amount (or adjusted issue price) multiplied by the number of remaining whole years to maturity, the debt security will be considered to have "market discount" in the hands of such United States Holder. In such case, gain realized by the United States Holder on the disposition of the debt security generally will be treated as ordinary income to the extent of the market discount that accrued on the debt security while held by such United States Holder. In addition, the United States Holder could be required to defer the deduction of a portion of the interest paid on any indebtedness incurred or maintained to purchase or carry the debt security. In general terms, market discount on a debt security will be treated as accruing ratably over the term of such debt security or, at the election of the United States Holder, under a constant yield method. Market discount on a foreign currency debt security will be accrued by a United States Holder in the specified currency. The amount includible in income by a United States Holder in respect of such accrued market discount will be the U.S. dollar value of the amount accrued, generally calculated at the exchange rate in effect on the date that the debt security is disposed of by the United States Holder.

        A United States Holder may elect to include market discount in income on a current basis as it accrues (on either a ratable or constant-yield basis), in lieu of treating a portion of any gain realized on a sale of a debt security as ordinary income. If a United States Holder elects to include market discount on a current basis, the interest deduction deferral rule described above will not apply. Any accrued market discount on a foreign currency debt security that is currently includible in income will be translated into U.S. dollars at the average exchange rate for the accrual period (or portion thereof within the United States Holder's taxable year). Any such election, if made, applies to all market discount bonds acquired by the taxpayer on or after the first day of the first taxable year to which such election applies and is revocable only with the consent of the IRS.

        The application of the book/tax conformity rule to debt securities with market discount is uncertain. Under the book/tax conformity rule, an accrual method holder that has made the election described in the prior paragraph to accrue market discount may be required to accrue market discount in a more accelerated manner than described above if the holder does so for financial accounting purposes. It is also possible, although less likely, that accrual method holders that have not made the election described above and that accrue market discount on a current basis on their financial statements may be required to accrue market discount—including de minimis market discount—currently for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

        Short-Term Debt Securities.    The rules set forth above will also generally apply to debt securities having maturities of not more than one year, which we refer to as short-term debt securities, but with modifications, certain of which are summarized below:

        First, the OID Regulations treat none of the interest on a short-term debt security as qualified stated interest. Thus, all short-term debt securities will be original issue discount debt securities. OID

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will be treated as accruing on a short-term debt security ratably or, at the election of a United States Holder, under a constant yield method.

        Second, a United States Holder of a short-term debt security that uses the cash method of tax accounting and is not a bank, securities dealer, regulated investment company or common trust fund, and does not identify the short-term debt security as part of a hedging transaction, will generally not be required to include OID in income on a current basis. Such a United States Holder may be required to defer the deduction of interest paid or accrued on any indebtedness incurred or maintained to purchase or carry such debt security until the maturity of the debt security or its earlier disposition in a taxable transaction. In addition, such a United States Holder will be required to treat any gain realized on a sale, exchange or retirement of the debt security as ordinary income to the extent such gain does not exceed the OID accrued with respect to the debt security during the period the United States Holder held the debt security. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a cash-basis United States Holder of a short-term debt security may elect to accrue OID into income on a current basis (in which case the limitation on the deductibility of interest described above will not apply). A United States Holder using the accrual method of tax accounting and certain cash-basis United States Holders (including banks, securities dealers, regulated investment companies and common trust funds) generally will be required to include OID on a short-term debt security in income on a current basis.

        Third, any United States Holder (whether cash or accrual basis) of a short-term debt security can elect to accrue the "acquisition discount," if any, with respect to the debt security on a current basis. If such an election is made, the OID rules will not apply to the debt security. Acquisition discount is the excess of the remaining redemption amount of the debt security at the time of acquisition over the purchase price. Acquisition discount will be treated as accruing ratably or, at the election of the United States Holder, under a constant-yield method based on daily compounding.

        Finally, the market discount rules will not apply to a short-term debt security.

        Contingent Payment Debt Instruments.    The Contingent Payment Regulations, which govern the tax treatment of Contingent Debt Obligations, generally require accrual of interest income on a constant-yield basis in respect of such obligations at a yield determined at the time of their issuance, and may require adjustments to such accruals when any contingent payments are made. A detailed description of the tax considerations relevant to United States Holders of any such Contingent Debt Obligations will be provided in the applicable prospectus supplement.

        Information Reporting and Backup Withholding.    The issuing and paying agent will be required to file information returns with the IRS with respect to payments made to United States Holders of debt securities unless an exemption exists. In addition, United States Holders who are not exempt will be subject to backup withholding tax in respect of such payments if they do not provide their taxpayer identification numbers to the issuing and paying agent. All individuals are subject to these requirements. In general, corporations, tax-exempt organizations and individual retirement accounts are exempt from these requirements.

        Reportable Transactions.    A United States taxpayer that participates in a "reportable transaction" will be required to disclose its participation to the IRS. Under the relevant rules, if the debt securities are denominated in a foreign currency, a United States Holder may be required to treat a foreign currency exchange loss from the debt securities as a reportable transaction if this loss exceeds the relevant threshold in the regulations ($50,000 in a single taxable year, if the United States Holder is an individual or trust, or higher amounts for other non-individual United States Holders), and to disclose its investment by filing Form 8886 with the IRS. A penalty in the amount of $10,000 in the case of a natural person and $50,000 in all other cases is generally imposed on any taxpayer that fails to timely file an information return with the IRS with respect to a transaction resulting in a loss that is treated

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as a reportable transaction. Prospective purchasers are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the application of these rules.

Tax Consequences to Non-United States Holders

        Under present U.S. federal income and estate tax law, and subject to the discussion below concerning backup withholding and foreign accounts:

        If a Non-United States Holder is subject to withholding at a rate in excess of a reduced rate for which such holder is eligible under a tax treaty or otherwise, such holder may be able to obtain a refund of or credit for any amounts withheld in excess of the applicable rate. Investors are encouraged to consult with their own tax advisors regarding the possible implications of these withholding requirements on their investment in the debt securities.

        Notwithstanding the foregoing, a Non-United States Holder generally will be taxed in the same manner as a United States Holder with respect to interest income that is effectively connected with its U.S. trade or business. In addition, under certain circumstances, effectively connected interest income of a corporate Non- United States Holder may be subject to a "branch profits" tax imposed at a 30% rate. A Non-United States Holder with effectively connected income will, however, generally not be subject to withholding tax on interest income if, under current procedures, it delivers a properly completed IRS Form W-8ECI.

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        United States information reporting requirements and backup withholding tax will not apply to payments on a debt security if the beneficial owner (1) certifies its Non-United States Holder status under penalties of perjury, generally made, under current procedures, on IRS Form W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E, or satisfies documentary evidence requirements for establishing that it is a Non-United States Holder, or (2) otherwise establishes an exemption.

        Information reporting requirements will generally not apply to any payment of the proceeds of the sale of a debt security effected outside the United States by a foreign office of a foreign broker, provided that such broker derives less than 50% of its gross income for particular periods from the conduct of a trade or business in the United States, is not a controlled foreign corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and is not a foreign partnership that, at any time during its taxable year, is 50% or more, by income or capital interest, owned by United States Holders or is engaged in the conduct of a U.S. trade or business.

        Backup withholding tax will generally not apply to the payment of the proceeds of the sale of a debt security effected outside the United States by a foreign office of any broker. However, information reporting requirements will be applicable to such payment unless (1) such broker has documentary evidence in its records that the beneficial owner is a Non-United States Holder and other conditions are met or (2) the beneficial owner otherwise establishes an exemption. Information reporting requirements and backup withholding tax will apply to the payment of the proceeds of a sale of a debt security by the U.S. office of a broker, unless the beneficial owner certifies its Non-United States Holder status under penalties of perjury or otherwise establishes an exemption.

        The amount of any backup withholding from a payment to a United States or non-United States taxpayer will be allowed as a credit against the holder's U.S. federal income tax liability and may entitle the holder to a refund, provided that the required information is timely furnished to the IRS.

        The rules regarding withholding, backup withholding and information reporting for Non-United States Holders are complex, may vary depending on a holder's particular situation, and are subject to change. Non-United States Holders should accordingly consult their own tax advisors as to the specific methods to use and forms to complete to satisfy these rules.

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

        Under the U.S. tax rules known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act ("FATCA"), a holder of debt securities will generally be subject to 30% U.S. withholding tax on interest payments on the debt securities (and, starting on January 1, 2019, principal payments on the debt securities and gross proceeds from the sale or other taxable disposition of the debt securities) if the holder is not FATCA compliant, or holds its debt securities through a foreign financial institution that is not FATCA compliant. In order to be treated as FATCA compliant, a holder must provide us or an applicable financial institution certain documentation (usually an IRS Form W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E) containing information about its identity, its FATCA status, and if required, its direct and indirect U.S. owners. Documentation that holders provide in order to be treated as FATCA compliant may be reported to the IRS and other tax authorities, including information about a holder's identity, its FATCA status, and if applicable, its direct and indirect U.S. owners. Prospective investors should consult their own tax advisors about how information reporting and the possible imposition of withholding tax under FATCA may apply to their investment in the debt securities.

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The Proposed Financial Transaction Tax

        The European Commission has published a proposal (the "Commission's Proposal") for a Directive for a common financial transaction tax ("FTT") in Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Spain (the "participating Member States"). However, Estonia has since stated that it will not participate.

        The Commission's Proposal has very broad scope and could, if introduced in its current form, apply to certain dealings in the debt securities in certain circumstances.

        Under the Commission's Proposal, the FTT could apply in certain circumstances to persons both within and outside of the participating Member States. Generally, it would apply to certain dealings in the debt securities where at least one party is a financial institution, and at least one party is established in a participating Member State. A financial institution may be, or be deemed to be, "established" in a participating Member State in a broad range of circumstances, including (a) by transacting with a person established in a participating Member State or (b) where the financial instrument which is subject to the dealings is issued in a participating Member State.

        The FTT remains subject to negotiation between the participating Member States and the legality of the proposal is uncertain. It may therefore be altered prior to any implementation, the timing of which remains unclear. Additional EU Member States may decide to participate and/or certain of the participating Member States may decide to withdraw.

        Prospective holders of the debt securities are advised to seek their own professional advice in relation to the FTT.

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PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

        We may sell the securities from time to time in one or more of the following ways:

        The accompanying prospectus supplement with respect to the offered securities will set forth the terms of the offering, including:

        Only underwriters or agents named in an accompanying prospectus supplement are deemed to be underwriters or agents in connection with the securities offered thereby.

        If underwriters are used in the sale, the securities will be acquired by the underwriters for their own account and may be resold from time to time in one or more transactions, including negotiated transactions, at a fixed public offering price or at varying prices determined at the time of sale. The obligations of the underwriters to purchase those securities will be subject to certain conditions precedent, and unless otherwise specified in an accompanying prospectus supplement, the underwriters will be obligated to purchase all the securities of the series offered by such accompanying prospectus supplement relating to that series if any of such securities are purchased. Any initial public offering price and any discounts or concessions allowed or reallowed or paid to dealers may be changed from time to time.

        We may also sell securities directly or through agents we designate from time to time. Any agent involved in the offering and sale of the offered securities will be named in an accompanying prospectus supplement, and any commissions payable by us to that agent will be set forth in an accompanying prospectus supplement. Unless otherwise indicated in such accompanying prospectus supplement, any agent will be acting on a best efforts basis for the period of its appointment.

        If so indicated in an accompanying prospectus supplement, we will authorize agents, underwriters or dealers to solicit offers by certain institutional investors to purchase securities, which offers provide for payment and delivery on a future date specified in such accompanying prospectus supplement. There may be limitations on the minimum amount that may be purchased by any such institutional investor or on the portion of the aggregate principal amount of the particular securities that may be sold pursuant to these arrangements.

        Institutional investors to which offers may be made, when authorized, include commercial and savings banks, insurance companies, pension funds, investment companies, educational and charitable institutions and such other institutions as may be approved by us. The obligations of any purchasers pursuant to delayed delivery and payment arrangements will only be subject to the condition that the

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purchase by an institution of the particular securities will not, at the time of delivery, be prohibited under the laws of any jurisdiction in the United States to which that institution is subject.

        Underwriters will not have any responsibility in respect of the validity of these arrangements or the performance of us or institutional investors thereunder.

        In connection with an offering of securities, the underwriters may purchase and sell securities in the open market. These transactions may include over-allotment, syndicate covering transactions and stabilizing transactions. Over-allotment involves sales of securities in excess of the principal amount of securities to be purchased by the underwriters in an offering, which creates a short position for the underwriters. Covering transactions involve purchases of the securities in the open market after the distribution has been completed in order to cover short positions. Stabilizing transactions consist of certain bids or purchases of securities made for the purpose of preventing or retarding a decline in the market price of the securities while the offering is in progress. Any of these activities may have the effect of preventing or retarding a decline in the market price of the securities being offered. They may also cause the price of the securities being offered to be higher than the price that otherwise would exist in the open market in the absence of these transactions. The underwriters may conduct these transactions in the over-the-counter market or otherwise. If the underwriters commence any of these transactions, they may discontinue them at any time.

        Underwriters and agents may be entitled under agreements entered into with us to indemnification by us against civil liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act, or to contribution with respect to payments that the underwriters or agents may be required to make in that respect. Underwriters and agents or their affiliates may engage in transactions with, or perform services for, us or our subsidiaries or affiliates in the ordinary course of business.

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LEGAL MATTERS

        The validity of the securities will be passed upon for us by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, New York, New York.


EXPERTS

        The financial statements and management's assessment of internal control over financial reporting (which is included in Management's Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting) incorporated in this prospectus by reference to our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017 have been so incorporated in reliance on the report of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, given on the authority of said firm as experts in auditing and accounting.

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$                

$            % Notes due November     , 2021

$            Floating Rate Notes due November     , 2021

$            % Notes due November     , 2025

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American Express Company

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November     , 2018

   



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