Reuters: The reduction represents about 8.5% of the credit card company's workforce as it restructures its business, pays legal costs and adapts to customers' changing credit habits.
American Express tends to cut staff at the beginning of recessions. But CEO Kenneth Chenault, speaking to stock analysts after the announcement Thursday, said spending with its cards continues to grow.
"This is not driven by our view of the macro environment," he said.
The company said the job cuts will happen over the year and come even as it hires some new employees and invests in more online customer service. The current workforce of 63,500 people will be about 4 to 6 percent smaller by the end of 2013.