29 Jul 2015

AMEX offline in Cooks

7:13 am on 29 July 2015

American Express has ceased its services in the Cook Islands following the sale of its franchise operator.

A Westpac branch in Rarotonga, Cook Islands

American Express has not passed on its services to BSP, which has purchased Westpac's operations in five Pacific countries. Photo: Phillipa Webb / Cook Islands News

The franchise was previously operated by Westpac Bank but the Bank South Pacific bought the branch over two weeks ago in a 125 million US dollar deal which included five Pacific nations.

Our correspondent in the Cook Islands, Florence Syme-Buchanan, says American Express has not passed its franchise on to Bank South Pacific or ANZ bank and this is causing headaches for the tourism industry.

"Big accommodation properties like the Pacific Resort Rarotonga, and Pacific Resort in Aitutaki, can't cater for American Express cardholders, of course this means they could miss out on future bookings if the franchise isn't sorted out by American Express and the Bank of the South Pacific."

Florence Syme-Buchanan says no indication has been given as to when the franchise will be restored.