NetSpend (NASDAQ: NTSP) and American Express (NYSE:AXP) are both financials companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their risk, valuation, dividends, analyst recommendations, profitability, institutional ownership and earnings.


American Express pays an annual dividend of $1.40 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.4%. NetSpend does not pay a dividend. American Express pays out 27.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. American Express has raised its dividend for 5 consecutive years.


This table compares NetSpend and American Express’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
NetSpend N/A N/A N/A
American Express 14.48% 22.73% 2.90%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares NetSpend and American Express’ revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
NetSpend N/A N/A N/A $0.44 N/A
American Express $32.12 billion 2.66 $5.41 billion $5.19 18.99

American Express has higher revenue and earnings than NetSpend. NetSpend is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than American Express, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for NetSpend and American Express, as provided by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
NetSpend 0 0 0 0 N/A
American Express 3 15 11 0 2.28

American Express has a consensus price target of $91.02, indicating a potential downside of 7.65%.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

83.4% of American Express shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.7% of American Express shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.


American Express beats NetSpend on 10 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

About NetSpend

NetSpend Holdings, Inc. (NetSpend) is a provider of general-purpose reloadable prepaid debit cards (GPR) cards, and related alternative financial services to underbanked consumers in the United States. NetSpend’s GPR cards are tied to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured depository accounts and can be used to make purchase transactions at any merchant that participates in the MasterCard, Visa or PULSE networks and to withdraw funds at participating automated teller machines (ATMs). The Company also offers to its cardholders direct deposit, interest-bearing savings accounts, bill pay and card-to-card transfer functionality, personal financial management tools and online and mobile phone card account access. As of December 31, 2010, the Company marketed its GPR cards through approximately 750 retail distributors at approximately 39,000 locations. As of August 21, 2010, the Company ceased marketing gift cards.

About American Express

American Express Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a global services company. The Company’s principal products and services are charge and credit card products, and travel-related services, which are offered to consumers and businesses around the world. Its segments include the U.S. Consumer Services (USCS), International Consumer and Network Services (ICNS), Global Commercial Services (GCS) and Global Merchant Services (GMS). The USCS includes the U.S. Consumer Card Services business and consumer travel services in the United States. The ICNS includes the International Consumer Card Services business, Global Network Services business and consumer travel services outside the United States. The GCS includes the Global Corporate Payments business, small business services businesses in the United States and internationally, financing products and foreign exchange services operations. The GMS includes the Global Merchant Services business and global loyalty coalition businesses.

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