American Express Acceptance is Increasing

Posted: September 23, 2020 | Updated: December 3, 2020

Overcoming the impression that American Express acceptance is rare among merchants, especially compared to Visa and MasterCard, the credit card company is in the middle of a five-year campaign to increase acceptance at merchants across the globe. From increased fraud protection to the business-friendly OptBlue program, Amex has invested heavily in building relationships with merchants around the world.

According to the most recent Nilson Report, a leading credit card industry resource, 99 percent of merchants who accept credit cards in the U.S. now accept Amex. Increasing merchant acceptance from 3.7 million in 2014 to 10.6 million U.S. merchant locations by the end of 2019, Amex welcomed more than 2.5 million new merchants during 2017 and 2018. American Express enjoyed an additional one million new U.S. locations last year alone. By comparison, Visa and Mastercard were accepted at 10.7 million locations in 2019.

Why is American Express acceptance increasing?

  • Because American Express historically charged higher interchange fees, or “swipe fees,” than Visa and MasterCard charged, fewer merchants accepted Amex in the past. With the average cost rising during the past 10 years for merchants accepting Visa and MasterCard, the cost of Amex has decreased during that same period.
  • Also according to a Nilson Report, Amex customers spend an average of $14,000 a year on their cards, more than three times what non-Amex customers spend. Not to mention, the average transaction size of an Amex customer is nearly two times larger than a non-card member’s. It behooves merchants to accept Amex to draw more valuable Amex customers into their stores and restaurants.
  • Investing heavily in fraud prevention technology, as well as in programs like Shop Small and Small Business Saturday, Amex focuses on business-friendly initiatives and promotions.
  • Amex’s OptBlue program works with businesses to find the best processing rate possible. Because Amex itself doesn’t set the merchant fees, the credit card company educates and assists merchants about the role of the credit card processor that sets the fees. Amex also offers OptBlue participants free marketing help, including physical signage, email alerts, and data driven advertisements, which identifies Amex customers most likely to shop at the merchant’s store.
  • After Amex added 10 million new card members globally in 2017, businesses have that many more reasons to accept American Express. With robust rewards programs in everyday spending categories, including gas, groceries, dining, and travel, Amex credit cards offer personal, co-brand, small business, and corporate cards.

Host Merchant Services

If your business wants to explore accepting Amex cards, Host Merchant Services can help you make a decision regarding Amex or any other aspect of merchant service. We’ll explain everything to help you make an informed decision! We go out of our way to educate our customers so that they fully understand pricing for Amex, as well as our pricing model in general. Having this knowledge is important to ensure you aren’t overpaying. After we explain everything, the pricing will be so transparent that you’ll even know exactly what we make as a profit.

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