AmEx for small businesses: Accepting American Express


Why American Express has higher swipe fees

While swipe fees are determined by card networks, factors such as the type of goods, the volume of transactions and how they're processed are also considered. Swipe fees for Visa, MasterCard, and Discover cards typically range between 1.5% to 2.5% and for American Express, between 2.5% and 3.5%.

American Express (also known as AmEx) continues to lag behind Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. The reason for this is that American Express uses a different business model than other credit card issuers; it relies on charge cards whereas most credit card companies make money from interest charges. As a result, American Express cardholders don't pay interest - they just pay their bill in full every month. It also secures revenue through annual fees and other fees charged to customers, namely swipe fees from merchants.

How small businesses can benefit from American Express

American Express is gradually being accepted by more merchants. Depending on your type of business, you might want to consider accepting American Express; the card has an affluent customer base – card members tend to be wealthy and spend more than average.  According to the American Express website, AmEx cardholders annually spend three times that of non-card holders. In 2018, there were 12 million new AmEx cards issued worldwide in 2018.

AmEx acceptance is usually associated with larger businesses, such as airlines and major hotels, but it's been gaining ground and is now more widely accepted at smaller businesses like grocery stores and general retailers.

In 2011, the company launched American Express Small Business Saturday, an American shopping holiday held during the Saturday after Thanksgiving, one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. In 2018, 104 million shoppers spent a record high of $17.8 billion on Small Business Saturday.

American Express Acquiring Program: One payment, One statement

The American Express Acquiring Program is a direct processing program (offered by select processors), where merchants receive one deposit payment and one statement for all card transactions.

According to Global Payments, here are some of its features:

  • Streamlined payment acceptance when you roll up your account management and reconciliation via a singular provider
  • One amalgamated statement to review
  • One provider and deposit funding for all types of payments your business receives including: American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, PayPal, debit, EBT, and others
  • Simplified voice authorization, complaints, or questions via one phone line

Under a partnership between North American Bancard and American Express, North American Bancard merchants benefit from having one contact for card brands: this make it easier to receive payments by depositing transactions from AmEx and other card brands, including PayPal, within 2 to 4 business days (and rates for AmEx cardholders are equal to Visa, MasterCard, Discover and PayPal).

Moreover, merchant accounts and transaction settlements are handled by American Express. Conditions may apply if you process over a certain amount of transactions.

If you choose to partner with Sekure, you can easily accept American Express, which is ideal for small businesses. You could also benefit from the AmEx FA program which reduces AmEx rates, making them comparable to Visa and Mastercard rates.

Contact us today to learn more.

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