Thursday's plan is the company’s biggest retrenchment in a decade and the fourth sweeping round of job reductions at the company since 2001, bringing the total number of job cuts to 18,000.
It is also the latest in a wave of financial-industry job cuts that have been announced in recent weeks.
On Wednesday, the US investment bank Morgan Stanley announced plans to cut 1,600 jobs, with about half of the cuts targeting employees in the United States and the other half occurring overseas.
Last month, banking giant Citigroup said it would eliminate 11,000 jobs worldwide this year to reduce expenses by $900 million.
American Express, the United States’ multinational financial services corporation, has announced plans to lay off about 5,400 of its employees worldwide by year’s end.
The credit card giant said on Thursday that it would cut its staff by 8.5 percent as it took almost $600 million in after-tax charges in the last quarter of 2012, the Associated Press reported.
The company also said its net income in the quarter will drop 46 percent compared with the same period a year earlier.
"Against the backdrop of an uneven economic recovery, these restructuring initiatives are designed to make American Express more nimble, more efficient and more effective in using our resources to drive growth," said Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault.
Chenault noted that the largest reductions will be in its travel business as more of the company’s customers shift to online portals for booking travel plans and other needs.
"One outcome of this ongoing shift to online is that we can serve a growing customer base with lower staffing levels," he said.