Most loyal American Express users have experienced the frustration of seeing these seven words at checkout: “Sorry, we do not accept American Express.” It’s upsetting when you want to pay for something but you can’t. American Express has an annual purchase volume in the hundreds of billions, so, why don’t more small business owners accept this card?

We spoke with an analyst at American Express to find out why some merchants simply choose not to accept American Express credit cards.

accept american express image

An analyst at American Express explained the inner workings of a relationship between a small business and American Express. He explained that in many cases, the deciding factor was the card’s discount rate — a fee paid by merchants to credit card processors.

American Express has a discount rate between 2-3 percent. Based on how large the merchant is and what type of business it is, American Express will determine their fee, which will be locked in by a contract. This is the fee that small merchants are always trying to avoid.

The debit or credit schism

This rate is not necessarily higher than other credit card companies. The analyst at American Express pointed out that a lot of merchants are confused when it comes to debit and credit rates. When a customer uses a debit card, the transaction has a smaller discount rate for merchants, usually 1 percent.

Merchants see the 1 percent on their statement and assume that they’re paying less with debit cards, but they’re not. AmEx can only be used as credit, which results in the merchant only having to pay one fee.

However, those who only want to use their AmEx most likely know which businesses accept it, and which don’t. The analyst explained, “American Express cardmembers are willing to spend more and be more loyal to their cards by only going to businesses where their card is accepted.”

Small business owners who love American Express

To see if small businesses actually found it beneficial to accept American Express in their establishments, I spoke with two people who run a small business in the Los Angeles area. I sat down with Matt Wise, general manager of The Roger Room, a cocktail lounge. “It’s really worth the small fee,” said Wise.

He agreed that more businesses should accept AmEx cards. “I prefer when it is easy to exchange goods and services. Any friction in the process can detract from the experience itself.”

Lillian Cavalieri is the founder and CEO of iPrecinct LLC, a political data technology company. She also happens to accept American Express and enlightened me on just how beneficial it can be to have this card on your side from a business owner’s point of view.

“We have way more sales using American Express. Thirteen percent more,” said Cavalieri.

In fact, Cavalieri said customers would frequently ask if iPrecinct accepted American Express, to the point where she put up an icon on her site to notify their acceptance.

She also informed me that American Express is excellent when it comes to discrepancies. If there is an issue between the business and the customer, American Express will resolve it within 24-48 hours, unlike other cards that can take three business days or longer to fix the problem. This allows Cavalieri to deliver faster service, which is key to a business that is built on delivering data quickly.

The source at American Express said the number one customer complaint is why a merchant will not accept their card. Once this happens, American Express will actually call the merchant to find out why they don’t use them and to see if they will start.

Tip: Don’t be stuck not being able to pay for something because the merchant doesn’t accept your AmEx. Consider opening another credit card that is more widely accepted. Here’s a list of our best rewards credit cards.

How was your experience using an AmEx card? Comment below, or write a card review!

(Disclaimer: MyBankTracker was not compensated from American Express for writing this article.)

Ask a Question

  • james m

    My personal experience in the bankcard/merchant services industry allows me to attest to the extra hurdles required when working with AMEX. Nobody will probably ever read this and im not talking down of AMEX. I always saw it as their unique approach to being a card association. Rates always vary depending on the iso or signing agent. From my observation, higher scale places primarily use amex. Another thing that determines rate is how the transaction is processed. It can be done through the merchant services one is contracted with or have an amex acct directly.

  • Mike

    Now we know why the sponsor small business Saturday!

  • Joe

    I am a merchant and I DO NOT accept American Express!! They charge way too much, and they take their time to pay!!! I have not lost a single customer either, as customers always have Visa or MasterCard.

    • Mrs. D.

      Maybe you just don’t realize you are losing potential customers, like myself, for one. When I find a merchant that does not accept Amex I may shop once but I guarantee you I will not be back. Like the post said Amex users are very loyal. This included the merchants we choose to frequent and believe me WE LIKE TO SPEND! Why wouldn’t you want my business?

      • jhouser

        Agreed, I often get to the signage on the building that shows what they accept If you don’t accept Amex I don’t even come into your building so why would you even know you are losing my business?

        • Shoshana

          Same with me. I actually just wrote to my hair dresser on why I wasn’t in their shop anymore. They don’t take Amex anymore I’m not going to pay $100 for a hair cut in a major US-city and not use the card I prefer.

          • RE

            The hairdresser is the ONLY place I go who won’t accept AMEX…. and I still make a comment when I’m there…..

            • Jessica

              Yeah my hairdresser just switched to a new shop that doesn’t accept AMEX and even though I’ve never had anyone else be able to give me such beautiful and long lasting colors and who understands how to deal with me extremely difficult hair quite like her I am very seriously debating just putting up with less quality because I am not about to get another card and have a hit on my credit–especially since I’m looking into buying a house. I’m afraid she may have just lost my business after five years of loyalty.

    • BNB

      You are definitely losing business. AMEX holders are notorious for not shopping at places where their cards are not accepted. Me included.

      As a business owner myself, I can tell you that the fees are trivial compared to VISA/MC/DISC, but that AMEX customers tend to spend substantially more money – as in 35% more. AMEX is the #2 card used behind VISA at my business, more than MasterCard.

      Not taking AMEX is extremely foolish.


        So, how long have YOU worked for AMEX? Or are you just an ignorant rich bastard driving his Mercedes or BMW all over town to save a few pennies by patronizing the box stores? That’s the demographic who exclusively uses AMEX in my area.

        Stubbornly insisting on paying every merchant you patronize with the worst payment method possible isn’t just foolish–it’s base, greedy and counter-productive in the long run.

        There’s a reason AMEX is the least accepted card in America: it’s the WORST form of payment businesses can accept. I’ve appended the “support local businesses” AMEX sign to include “DON’T USE AMEX” at the bottom. My decent, loyal customers love it, and usually break out their debit card if they don’t have cash.

        And before you launch in to all the business I’ll lose by not servicing aholes like you, I DON’T WANT OR NEED BUSINESS FROM AHOLES LIKE YOU. So go ahead and keep your AMEX card and take your morally bankrupt patronage with you–that way we’ll both win.

        • BNB

          Such hostility and class-hatred. I’m sorry you are having such tough times.

          Sounds like you have yourself to blame for being an ignorant poor bastard.

          Care to explain why AMEX is the “worst payment method possible”? We do thousands of credit card transactions every month. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. 98% of merchants that take cards, take AMEX. You are in the 2% of clueless “aholes” who are too stupid to figure it out.

          So what haven’t you figured out? That in many scenarios, AMEX rates are about the same as a non-qualified VISA. And guess what? When a customer pays with AMEX, the money shows up in our account all the same. So please tell me, wise one, why should I be mistreating customers because they prefer AMEX?

          I’m glad you also admitted that it’s the rich people driving around in their fancy cars with AMEX. As a business owner, I like it when people spend money with me, so it’s nice to have “rich aholes” give me money for our products. I appreciate them.

          You can take your Wal-Mart hatred and shove it. I’m morally bankrupt, while you turn away business, and thus jobs, for small business, then complain about Wal-Mart and “big box” stores taking everything and destroying America….. You, my non-friend, are an idiot.

          I’ll continue treating customers the right way. Taking their preferred method of payment, because, it doesn’t actually cost me anything extra, and continue creating jobs and growing my small business. You can whine about rich people and laugh about mistreating customers, I much prefer to just be rich by treating people correctly.

          Good luck, or not.

          • I
            just want to rant. I wish I had time to go into the nuance of why we
            will NEVER accept AmEx at our small business again, but I have no time. I
            am small business and need to make a living! Suffice to say that AmEx
            has held up $11,090 in deposits for 6 days because they are ‘under
            review’. No message from AmEx that the funds would be held up for
            ‘review’, just a delay. The customer service rep was
            as nice as pie! It was clearly not her fault, but a) an email
            explaining the funds were held up for review would have been nice. no
            email, no letter, no nothing. b) after calling, I was told the funds
            would definitely be released within 48 hours. On top of the 6 day delay
            already? Not happy! c) was told an email was sent and it must be in SPAM
            folder. Nope. Got lots of promotional emails, but no notice by paper or
            email. d) was told a number of large transactions had been held up
            longer than normal in their review department due to computer problems.
            Oh really? another reason not to accept AmExp!! AmEx makes about $20,000
            per year in fees off our company, fees that ultimately have to be
            passed on to our customers because, hey, we don’t have that $20,000
            sitting around! I repeat, we will NEVER accept AmEx at our small
            business again, futhermore why would I want to open an account with such
            a poorly run company? Yes, the people are very polite on the phone, but
            it’s just a string of meaningless excuses and very, VERY poor business
            practices. Don’t get me started about the chargeback process, where
            funds mysteriously disappear from your bank account MONTHS after the
            fact, with no warning by paper or email. Bad practices! This company
            belongs in jail.


            “I’m sorry you are having such tough times.”

            No you’re not, and no I’m not.

            “Care to explain why AMEX is the ‘worst payment method possible’?”

            Not to you. As far as I can tell, your mind is completely made-up.

            “That in many scenarios, AMEX rates are about the same as a non-qualified VISA.”

            Nope, not with my merchant service processor, or any of the alternates I’ve found. AMEX is still about 1% higher.

            “You can take your Wal-Mart hatred and shove it.”

            Never said I hated Walmart. Good luck with your dementia.

            • RE

              AMEX is not always 1% higher. It’s extremely unlikely you are paying 2.5% or less for a non-qualified purchase. This means business rewards cards, etc. Many pay on the low side of 2.8% and most over 3.0%. AMEX is roughly 3.5%. It’s 1/2 of a percent. I don’t need to annoy my customers over this.

            • disqus_f0MiwUU3QQ

              Oh gosh, you mean you have to give up *gasps* one penny per dollar? Whoooo! That’ll make or break a successful business!

        • PC

          How is it counterproductive? Like when I get screwed, and AMEX makes it better? I don’t get it. What the hell is the matter with you? Keep it up and no one will do business with you-at least people who have a clue.

        • Mark Fuxanerd

          Were not all like that. I have paid with other forms of payment other then my Amex card. Bottom line is if I like a store and what they have to offer then that won’t stop me from buying what i want regardless of what card they accept. I prefer my amex but I only use that for purchases over 10k as they require a minimum spending of 10k a month but that isn’t the reason. I also only use my visa for purchases over 10k also. Anything under that I use my bank (debit) cards. My little sister had to start carrying a visa though because her prepaid amex debit card my father gives her for allowance wasnt accepted everywhere. She wasnt mad about it she just carried on with her life.

          • RE

            Why would you use a debit card for any transaction? Seems foolish. I’m sure the merchants love you, but why would you not get cash back and points? I haven’t swiped a debit card in, I don’t know, 10 years….

      • Katy

        There’s an easy way to solve this issue, every retailer should push the cost of accepting AMEX onto their customers. Charge a 5% fee onto of the sale for Amex cards. That’s the only way you’ll get AMEX to be accepted anywhere. Most retailers in Europe don’t accept AMEX, it’s Visa or Mastercard.

        • BNB

          Nonsense. I find that just about everywhere that takes credit cards in Europe takes AMEX. A bigger issue for me when traveling overseas is most cards use chips and many smaller shops don’t even know how to use a swipe only card.

          If you hate your customers and want to go out of business, by all means, blindside them with a 5% charge for using their preferred method of payment. Of course, this is also illegal in many states….

          Me? I’ll take payment however my customer wishes to pay. And considering my biggest spenders use AMEX, I take it with a smile and focus on making them happy. The aggregate cost of accepting cards is factored into my pricing and operations – just like any other successful business.

          And as I’ve also explained, many newer companies like Square charge a flat rate regardless of which card is used.

          Hating on AMEX is extremely amateur when it comes to business.

          • Van

            I lived in the UK for a couple years and yeah… Most places doesn’t accept amex. It’s the only reason I left them. I didn’t know how long I was going to be in Europe. The amex was almost useless to me.

            • RE

              When I’m in Denmark and Germany, if the place takes credit cards, they always take AMEX. And I spend a lot of time there. I’ve had exactly zero places not accept my AMEX but would take VISA.

        • Victor G

          That is illegal!

        • Dee

          Every store I went in Europe took my Chip and PIN Amex, no problems at all …

      • Mark Fuxanerd

        I would rather use my Amex card over any card but if i really like shopping at a place I won’t cry about them not taking my card. Its really no big deal. I have many other forms of payment. I can’t understand why people are getting so angry over a credit card. I noticed that the people that worship money and other forms of money are the people that barely have any. They say the rich are greedy and worship money but that’s not true. Its just money that’s all. Its the ones that dont have that worship it. Maybe because they worship it is the reason why they dont have it.


      I’ve owned a small business for 6 years and every customer worth having understands that AMEX charges the MOST of any credit card in the US (fact) AND takes the longest to pay the merchants (fact). If you refute this, you obviously don’t own a business and don’t know what the F you’re talking about. I bust my hump to help and treat everyone fairly. I’m not about to pad my prices to offset AMEX robbing me of 10% of my margin (they charge 3+% total and I operate on a 30% margin), and kiting my funds for weeks at a time. Customers love Amex because of the perks. Merchants hate them because THEY’RE the ones paying for those perks.

      If a customer wants to express loyalty, they’ll pay with any method of payment other than the worst one possible–AMEX.

      And if the customer is so greedy/callous that they’ll withhold business because the merchant won’t let themselves be robbed by accepting AMEX, well, GOOD RIDDANCE to those rotten a$$ customers. Let them get their perks elsewhere, knowing that they’re contributing to the continued erosion of small business in the US.

      • BNB

        AMEX charges the most? Not if you use PayPal or Square. All rates are the same, and quite reasonable. But I guess the millions of people using these services obviously don’t actually use these services…. because you are a genius!

        That 3% you are whining about? Do you not take ANY credit cards at all? Because the guy coming in with his VISA Rewards Card, most likely you are paying in the high 2’s, around 2.8% or sometimes more. Get that, genius…….

        How you can link AMEX to an erosion of small business is beyond me. You say you won’t take a customers credit card as a form of payment, thus “good riddance” to that customer. Then you complain about how this same customer, who tried to give you their business, is eroding small business because you won’t do business with him.

        Oh. My. God. You are an idiot.

        As for taking longer to pay. Who cares? A successful business, of any size, isn’t crying over waiting 2 days for credit card payments to be deposited.

        We have established that you have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to the rates. You have the business acumen of a turtle, and you run a miserable, possibly failing business.

        Great…. just the person I’d love to take some more advice from. Keep it coming.

        • PC



            AMEX excels at making them, and then they find their way here. Too tough to grasp?

            There there. Where do they find these clueless AMEX lovers?

            • PC

              Because we like peace of mind when we do transactions. WTF is so hard to figure out here? What is so hard to understand about people having enough of the way the other CCs treat people?. I could go off on a tizzy just about Capital One, Chase, or any other of the worthless CCs that have given me the shaft. May they rot in hell. Get it through you thick head: WE USE AMEX BECAUSE OF THE WAY WE’RE TREATED. What it sounds like to me is your business was pissing off people, and they successfully charged your shite back. Boo hoo. That’s what happens when you’re a crook or a scammer. There’s no other reasonable answer. One extra percent, even on things like Rolexes, is jack shite when compared to not doing the deal. Which, by the way, I do like expensive stuff and trips. I wouldn’t dream of in a thousand years using any other CC. Jesus H Chist where do they find these people?


                “What it sounds like to me is your business was pissing off people, and
                they successfully charged your shite back. Boo hoo.”

                Haven’t ever had a chargeback, nor did the previous 3 owners going back to 1990. Swing anda miss–care to try again?

                I’ve also never had trouble getting fraudulent charges reversed from Capital One, Chase or Discover, though only Capital One passes muster for overall customer service. Not sure what your problem was. Maybe check between your ears?


          “As for taking longer to pay. Who cares?”
          Uh, the first commenter, for one. Can you count to “one”?

          As for giving you more advice, nah, you’ve already got a handle on things, as you’re doing a bang-up job of leaping to false conclusions and making an a$$ of yourself without any additional help from me. Thanks for the laugh though.

          • RE

            A successful business isn’t worried about a couple days extra to settle a transaction. But do you really need me to explain that “who cares?” isn’t meant to be literal count?

    • Chelyn

      I have an American Express card and would still shop with you because I also have a Mastercard and a Visa. I find it frustrating that AMEX isn’t accepted at most places I shop and I most definitely am not “loyal” to them. Not once have I ever said that I’m not shopping there again because they don’t accept AMEX. On the other hand it’s more likely I will leave my AMEX at home. I know as a business owner you have to find ways to save money and if cutting out a credit card company that wants to charge more or delay payments helps then more power to you.

      • There’s a lot of conflict that comes from someone using an American Express card for its perks and rewards, while still trying to be considerate of a business’s bottom line. More often than not, the customer would prefer personal gain.

  • Jenny

    As a small business owner, we are currently accepting all credit cards, but we’re contemplating dropping AmEx. I have clients that use multiple cards and I would not be worried about them not coming to me if I did not accept AmEx…..most people have multiple reward cards. Yes, the discounts and rates and fees once you break it all down by company is probably nickels and dimes (AmEx is always higher though) – HOWEVER – Visa, MC, & Discover drop into my account next day and AmEx takes 4, sometimes 5 business days. This makes a big difference for my company while we are struggling right now and depend on funds being available in the account. I’ve noticed too that many of my clients that had previously used AmEx, have now switched to Visa or MC accounts – either because other companies don’t take it or maybe better offer? Not sure, but AmEx is used in about 1/4 of my sales and the majority of those people have other funds available to them….they are merely collecting rewards and due to our local reputation, I don’t think they would shop elsewhere just because we didn’t accept AmEx (we have an upholstery shop and are one of the few in town that actually accepts cards to begin with – most are cash/check only).

    • PC

      Trust me, as an AMEXer, I would drop you in a heartbeat. I stopped going to one of my favorite restaurants because of this line of stupid thought. You people don’t seem to get it. It’s not the money; it’s the security we get with AMEX. Whenever I’ve had an issue with a charge with other CCs, I always get the shaft. Whenever I’ve had an issue with a charge on AMEX, it’s resolved immediately and almost always in my favor. I’m not a whiner, and I don’t make bogus claims. Anyway, what you people fail to see is that we use this card because of the way we are treated. At least for me, I’m sick and tired of every other CC, and I will not use them. Sometimes, usually when I’m going oversees, I’ll put a few hundred bucks in a prepaid visa, but that’s it. So, the next time you think about cancelling AMEX over a few pennies here and there, remember that you’ll be losing some people’s business.


      • Raf Callas

        PC, you state valid points. While it’s essentially a matter of personal preference, AMEX does have this feeling of exclusivity. I agree with the customer service point. But I wouldn’t necessarily count out ALL credit cards. Visa and MC still remain the “top dogs” of credit cards.

        • PC

          Try opening a dispute with the other CCs and good luck with that. Frankly, I could care less about exclusivity. It’s about the way I’m treated. I’ve gotten the shaft so many times with other CCs, and I’ve had enough with that. Also, the most I’ve ever been put on hold with Amex is about a minute, and I always get somebody who speaks perfect English and actually helps resolve my problem.

          • 8540win

            You couldn’t be more accurate. I have had an American Express platinum card for 30 years. You dispute charges and you don’t get the run around. Approximately two years ago, I received a phone call on a Saturday evening from American Express. They had caught someone on line using my card twice THAT day. They informed me they were canceling that card number, not to use that card, and they were issuing a new card which they would put in overnight mail to me and the following Tuesday I received the new card. No charges on my statement…no hassle, all communication in perfect English.

            • PC

              Amen to that. I wish some people would get a clue. It’s the safety and treatment beyond anything else. THAT’S WHY WHINERS WHO BITCH ABOUT AMEX GET NO SYMPATHY. KEEP IT UP GENIUSES!

              • Mark Fuxanerd

                I have been a centurion card holder since 2005 and my father has been a holder since 1999 and I will say Amex caters to our needs very well. Never had to file a claim so I wouldn’t know about that but I do know they have always treated us very well. We receive monthly thank you letters from Amex and it really shows how much they appreciate their loyal customers. In 2008 my family was invited to try the new Visa “black card”. I do admit the service has also been outstanding except we haven’t received one thank you note. Not a big deal but it is the little things that count and they failed in that department. Anyways , Amex is my choice. I noticed you seem a bit angry over this. You think no one has a “clue” but maybe you should relax and focus on your own life and success and maybe you might be more successful. I guess I can try and understand that you get angry when your favorite places do not accept your cc because you charge everything and you actually don’t have another form of payment. You should try not to depend and survive only on your Amex card. Bottom line is cash still rules. Too many people like yourself think if you can finance it you can afford it. This type of thinking leads to massive debt and people like myself and my family are stuck paying it with our taxes. If you don’t think so the

                • .5%

                  I’m an Amex cardholder and from personal experience find their overall customer service to be better than most card companies. This is the main reason why I remain loyal to the card and use it whenever possible. The services, perks, and rewards are just a bonus that offset the membership fees people run away from. I also carry Visa as backup and will happily use it if a merchant does not accept Amex which rarely happens (and I travel quite a bit). It is however a turnoff when a merchant tells you they don’t accept it because of the high swipe fees when in reality we are really talking about a 1/2 percent difference. It’s just bad customer service and practice to inconvenience someone for that small of an amount. In addition, you run the risk of losing larger sales or an ongoing customer relationship or both. Besides, I think most customers know that all transaction fees are passed on to them and is included in their products or services pricing. It makes more sense for a merchant to accept all major cards and average out fees then include that in their overall pricing (imo).

      • This guy…

        The fact that you ‘demand retailers’ to accept a form of payment you simply prefer is stupid. If you want to spend money, bring cash, otherwise you’re just being a point-whore and cash STUPID.

        • PC

          Why would I ever pay cash? That way, when I’m unhappy for whatever reason I can f*** myself. Good idea. I’ll keep that in mind when I’m paying thousands for an item with no security. Get real people. When it comes to the big purchases, I would rather drop dead than pay with another CC or, god forbid, cash. Who uses cash anyway? Has someone forgot to inform me that it’s the 50s? I do not get it, nor well I ever. Clueless people get a hold of yourselves!

      • and

        You can go shove it thenm whiner!!!! We dont care about you or Anypone who has to use amex to do business. We have bills to pay and we risk tha more when people use amex which charges more towards the merchant and also takes longer to collect our dues. So again go f yourself!

  • Gustavo

    We are a small merchant and we considering taking amex of our payment system. It take longer than other CC companies and sometimes “they loose” the payments.
    Also they charge MUCH more than other CC.
    I am already started to say no to AMEX and I will cancel the contract with them.

    • Oyee

      I have taken AMEX at my Auto Repair business for over 25 years and I am absolutely convinced that taking AMEX has helped attract business. It does take a couple days longer for my money to reach my account but I know for a fact that there are curtain customers that will go elsewhere if I were to stop accepting AMEX. I am in Utah and in recent years the state has allowed us to charge a “convenience fee” for credit card transactions. So I now have a sign on the entrance desk that says “there may be a 2-3% convenience fee if using a credit card for payment”. For some reason we have had a higher amount of cash transactions in the last 2 years.

      • BNB

        Be careful with that convenience fee. You are more likely to lose customers this way than by not taking AMEX. I would never return to a business who charges me 3% extra because I pay with a card.

        You do have the right idea about taking AMEX. There is no reason to add a hurdle to your business. Keep customers happy, always.

  • I like the fact that AMEX is not accepted everywhere because it minimizes my purchases with the card. It’s a win-win for me!

  • This strikes me as a big puff piece for Amex. The section on actual fees provides zero information other than “This rate is not necessarily higher than other credit card companies.”. Where are the comparisons to other cards? The writers had interviews with several merchants. Why not ask them what their fees were? And if they aren’t allowed to discuss the fees due to a contract with Amex, that’s relevant – why not print it?

    The idea that tens (hundreds?) of thousands merchants who don’t take Amex are just not paying enough attention to their bills, or that they’re not doing their research is laughable. Are we to believe ALL of these people (whose *job it is* to do cost/benefit analysis on a daily basis for their businesses) are wrong?

    • I have an AMEX and although it can be a pain at times, I actually like that it’s not accepted everywhere because it saves me money. If not for the limitation I’d be in much greater debt!

      • “Arox”

        It’s all bout swagger.. wen u seated next to that skirt n she sees u pay with your AMEX.. Boi best believe that she begins to get moist south of belly button… Wink… It shows a responsible person with credit….. Keep flying HIGH AmEx users……

        • I have to agree that AMEX comes with a certain amount of status attached when you plop it down on the counter. That’s the main reason why I got one!


            Sure does: it says “I’m so rich I expect people to take a loss servicing my greedy a$$”. Hope that title suits you.

            • BNB

              If you take a loss over a 3% credit card fee, then you need to close your business and get a job at McDonalds packing french fries into paper containers. It suits you better.

          • Chelyn

            I have had my AMEX card for years and not once have I felt like I was better than someone without one but that’s just me.

        • I’m not sure that perception is reality but I certainly like to think so!

    • BNB

      If a merchant is using a service like Square, the fees are identical regardless of card used. Same with PayPal.

      For me? I do millions in credit card sales every year. VISA is the most used, followed by AMEX, then MasterCard. Discover is a distant last. I deal in business to business, so it tells you a lot just how many real purchasers use AMEX. It would be suicide to not take it.

      I can tell you that AMEX transactions are 35% higher than VISA. And their rates are nearly the same as the non-qualified VISA rate. Which means the same as any other business rewards type card. A standard credit card (no rewards program) will be lower than AMEX.

      If a merchant were to complain about AMEX fees and not take AMEX, but then take a VISA Platinum Rewards or whatever card, then that merchant is just clueless and making poor business decisions.

  • ישי..

    been loyal to a credit-card is ridiculous.

    • If you’re loyal to AMEX then AMEX will be loyal to you! It’s a win-win!

      • ישי..

        loyal to me, eh?
        you mean what?-
        of course I can hold their card as long as I desire.
        and if I’m in a need- they will not be there for me.
        you are one of millions of costumers, they don’t care about you.
        so, what good comes holding this card? (except for the fact that it’s transparent and it’s kind of cool).
        a credit card is useless if you must have another one “just in case”.
        I have only one card in my wallet, and from now on it won’t be amex

        • To each his own, I guess!

          • chris

            If a business doesnt take amex I shop elsewhere plain and simple. I tend to run 10k a month through my amex so thats a lot sales for merchants.

            Theres too many choices to shop at places that do take amex instead of dealing with ones who dont and use another form of payment. My sales more than make up for it.

    • Chelyn

      My thinking exactly!

  • randy

    My issue as a merchant with AMEX has nothing to do with their fees, I understand that as part of doing business. The issue I have is that AMEX has created a reserve against my account more than half dozen times in last couple of years. Only one of these was for a complaint from a customer, that was fraudulent. i gave AMEX all the backup and they cleared it up (not quickly by the way). The other reserves were placed as it was explained to me “because the computer flagged it” and they just wanted to put hold on my account until they could look into it. In addition the one time I had the complaint that was in the amount of $22,400 they would not release any of the money they were holding which was in excess of $100,000, this made absolutely no sense to me and again I was told that was policy and nothing they could do until complaint was resolved and as a matter of policy any other monies that were put into account would also be held. The number of hours on the phone trying to talked to somebody that could give me an explanation were hours wasted. I want to accept AMEX but as a small business owner these “policies” are making it untenable for me. Anybody else have this kind of experience with AMEX.


      The Durbin Amendment passed in 2010 FINALLY frees merchants to pass on the fees associated with merchant service processing. So all those rich greedy pricks with their AMEX cards can enjoy paying savvy (non-chump) merchants the extra 3% it costs to accept their horrible, horrible payment method. It provides a litmus test: if the rich greedy customer balks, they have demonstrated a fundamental lack of decency and can henceforth take their rich greedy business ELSEWHERE. I don’t require much–just a minimal semblance of basic decency in order to serve someone. If a person insists on robbing me by paying with AMEX, they lack that basic decency and aren’t welcome in my store. QED.

      Does that title sting, rich greedy readers? GOOD! You need a reality check, even if you refuse to heed it.

      • BNB

        You have a lot of hatred for the rich. Sounds like you finally gave up on life, realized you were lacking too much cognitive brain matter to succeed, and now throw your hatred around at everyone smarter than you.

        Any VISA with a rewards program will run a fee of nearly 3% as well. But you whine about AMEX only?

        You think a customer balking at being charged 3% extra shows a lack of decency? Yeah, makes sense. A customer not happy with being mistreated, those rich scumbags! I hate rich people, down with Wal-Mart.

        This is you: “Take your rich ahole business elsewhere.”
        Next breath: “Rich people are horrible, killing America by not shopping at my store”

        Oh, Lord help this idiot.


          “You have a lot of hatred for the rich…”
          That’s an inaccurate generalization, but you’re free to think and say what you please. Ditto pretty much everything else you’ve posted.

          On a more relevant note, since my initial tirade, AMEX has gone from reducing the average time it takes their funds to post by 1 day, to wising up and simply batching their payments along with and posting them on the same statement as every other credit card. So they’ve acknowledged their business model was too flawed to continue with, even if you continue to insist on swinging from their proverbial nuts. Well, at least AMEX got half a clue. More than I expected from either of you chuckleheads, really. Maybe in another decade or two, they’ll finish removing their head from their collective rectum. Of course they’ll have to get YOUR head out of the way first…


          “You have a lot of hatred for the rich…”
          That’s an inaccurate generalization, but so is pretty much everything else you’ve posted.

          On a more relevant note, since my initial tirade, AMEX has wised up and started simply batching their payments along with and posting them on the same statement as every other credit card I accept. So they’ve acknowledged their business model was deeply flawed, even if you won’t. Maybe in another decade or two, they’ll finish removing their head from their collective rectum. Of course they’ll have to get YOUR head out of the way first…

          • RE

            AMEX is a successful company and has shown strong growth. They are hardly operating on a “deeply flawed” business model.


              Yup, which explains why Costco just told them to @#$% themselves, resulting in an instantaneous loss of 10% of AMEX’ business. And there’s dispute over the specifics of this “divorce”. Who do I believe? Let’s see…Costco, who offers one of the best return policies on the planet, right up there with REI; or AMEX, a mob run outfit who prides itself on sticking it to the little guy every way they can. Don’t think too hard about which side to trust–I wouldn’t want your tiny brain to implode.


              I just got a letter from AMEX explaining that a recent federal court case ruled that “American Express violated the law by prohibiting merchants from influencing the payment form that their customers use.” i.e. AMEX broke the law when they told merchants who accept their card that they can’t inform customers that AMEX is the most expensive, etc. Why would AMEX want to block merchants from doing that? Oh, that’s right, BECAUSE THEY’RE THE WORST @#$%ING CREDIT CARD SMALL MERCHANTS CAN ACCEPT, and THEY KNOW IT!

              Best they could do to stick it to me was wait 3 months after the lawsuit to send the letter, but all said and done it’s still a black eye for them and a small victory for every last small merchant in the USA.

              Still not convinced AMEX is @#$% for small business? The term “incorrigible” comes to mind.

              • RE

                Convinced that AMEX is awful for small business? No. I do a few million a year in credit card transactions, I have the data.

                AMEX buyers spent 18% more so far this year. Which means my buyers who spend the most money prefer AMEX.

                Would you also care to guess which credit card is my lowest cost to take, by a landslide…..

                Oh, you know it’s coming…. AMEX.

                So let me see. AMEX customers spend more and it cost me less in fees…. yeah, awful.

                Not every merchant pays 3.5% for AMEX anymore. That is old. I average right about 2% for AMEX and 2.4% for VISA/MC. I do B2B which means lots of reward cards. And if you think AMEX fees are bad, try VISA Signature.

                Which brings up a funny point. When an establishment won’t take my AMEX, I pull out my VISA Signature and just kind of laugh. Yeah, brilliant you guys are.

                • ANYTHING BUT AMEX OR GTFO

                  Did you also know that AMEX’ rate fee is so @#$% up, it’s cheaper for me to break up large (notably relative term for small businesses like mine) transactions into multiple sub-$75 transactions, because they progressively charge a larger percentage for transactions over $75, $150 and $300? I guess the rich are incapable of differentiating between “small businesses” and “businesses that see predominantly small transactions”. I’m both, and I’m so used to how wretchedly AMEX treats its small accounts that when I saw this little solution to “small” businesses getting screwed by them, I just rolled my eyes and modified the way I process AMEX transactions over $150. Helping my customers is my livelihood (I would have responded to your reply sooner, but I had a sudden rush of customers to tend to), but gaming broken systems is my favorite hobby.

                  • RE

                    I simply don’t have the issues you are describing. As I said, AMEX is far and away my cheapest card. The transactions also settle with all my other credit cards, no waiting, no issues. Quite honestly, I just don’t know what your problems are. Not only is AMEX a total non-issue, it’s cheaper and the people who use it spend more. What exactly is wrong with that?

                    And yes, they do break it up into tiers, and even the highest tier for larger transactions is lower than my VISA/MC average. I don’t have it in front of me, but maybe 2.2%.

                    It really depends on what business you are in for which rates they will give. I would recommend a new provider but you don’t seem terribly interested. I pay interchange plus zero on all transactions and have no issues at all. You seem really unhappy and focused on all the wrong things. It amazes me you are still in business. But hey, good for you.

    • Randy, while I don’t know enough to comment on your particular situation, thanks for providing the merchant perspective of working with AmEx.

    • BNB

      I’ve never experienced this issue with AMEX, personally. I wouldn’t be happy with them either if this happened to me. I’m curious if this is only an AMEX policy or if this could have happened with VISA or MasterCard in similar circumstances.

  • sue

    I kindly suggest that Mybanktracker do more research before writing such an article. It is not just the interchange rate + merchant fees the retailers are upset about, we are upset that we are charged a percentage every time a customer collects on their rewards from these companies. I’m all for the customer getting rewards, what I am not for is the creditcard companies getting an insane amount of money from customers and merchants and making like they are the nice guys dipping into their bottom line to make their users happy.

  • ravibeli

    I purchased gold in Bheema Jewels about Rs1.3lakhs, they do not accept AmEx card, and if I want to swipe it then I need to pay 2% amount of bill amount. I had no other alternate I paid them. 🙁

  • chicagoCabbie

    I don’t shop where AMEX isn’t
    taken ………..I think the REAL
    reason SOME merchants don’t accept AMEX is they don’t want to give the
    customer the POWER

    Amex gives to the customer.. If there is a problem with a purchase Amex will

    “pull” the money back from the merchant until the
    problem is resolved. Merchants don’t do anything else until its resolved
    because the money is gone.. With Visa & MC it takes months and a thousand
    phone calls and if in the end you want your money back it may not happen……With
    AMEX you already have your money back and it only took 1 phone call to Amex and
    they pulled it back while you were on that phone call………

  • DanielMyers

    We are a small business and are going to drop American Express next week. Yes their fees are higher, but that isn’t the reason. They started taking an extra 28% out of all transactions without telling us, no email, no phone call, no letter. When we called them on it, they said that they didn’t have our EIN so because of that they had to send 28% to the IRS as federal witholding. When I asked them why the never contacted us they responded by saying that they tried to call us on April 25th of this year. I asked why they didn’t leave a message and they told me there was no option for voice mail. They must have dialed the wrong number, because we have plenty of voice mail options. We recently ran a $10,000 transaction and this is how we discovered the issue when only $7200 was deposited in our account. We didn’t notice from all of the small transactions, but this one stood out. So we reversed the charge and refunded the customer. Guess what, they refunded $10,000 out of our account to the customer! When we contacted them about the $2800 that they were holding they said we sent it to the IRS you will need to get it back next year when you file your tax return. NEXT YEAR! So if we file in March which we typically get an extension and file around June, we might get the money back by next August! We were told too bad by AM EX customer service. Turns out they have $16,000 from 2013 that we just found out about as they never sent us the 1099k they were supposed to until we requested it. We didn’t have this issue with MC,Visa or Discover. STAY AWAY from American Express. As far away as you can as a business. You don’t need it.

    • Derek

      So you’re upset that you never sent them your EIN and they took measures to make sure the government was paid? It sounds like you need to get a new accountant and people in the front office that would have caught the $16k from the previous year. And yes, if they failed to send you the 1099k, shame on them. However, again, waiting until the last minute to request a document and finding this out — how is that their fault. (I’ve had to call plenty of banks for information on my loans when they should have sent it automatically for tax purposes. One I have to call each year. Yes, it’s a pain and yes, they should do that, but ultimately my taxes are my taxes and the buck stops with me).

  • everydayjohn

    I have a new Gift card from American Express issued in late 2014 as a prepaid gift card. ARCO Gas Stations in Los Angeles, CA do NOT accept AmEx cards.
    Buyers beware! Yet my year old VISA Gift Card worked instantly at ARCO.
    I suggest others read the comments below and do not send GIFT CARDS of Am Ex to your family or loved ones.

  • Larry Brantley

    Interesting information to know. I use American Express to the extent
    that after being told that a place of business does not accept it I ask
    why not. I have never received a satisfactory answer. I simply tell
    them that I won’t do business with a company that does not accept it. I
    leave the product(s) I had intended to buy on the counter and leave. I shop
    elsewhere. I am especially picky about services businesses. AMEX settles disputes quickly and with no problem. I won’t touch a Discover card. They almost always side with a business even when the customer is being ripped off. I have a MasterCard that is also a Debit card that I use for gas, groceries, and other relatively small household items. I always ring it as a credit, because I don’t want to remember too many PINs. I seldom use cash as it is too easy for someone to steal, and using a card, especially specific cards for specific categories of purchase makes record keeping simpler.

  • Loading

    AMEX users are a dying breed, as they should be.

  • AMEX Hell

    I get charged 3.5% from AMEX for accepting their card yet get horrible services. When i changed my account information one year ago, AMEX was unable to get the account number correct in their system. After 3 lengthly attempts to fix this, I accepted getting a check in the mail when a customer did a web purchase. So I get several checks in the mail a week. About a week ago the postal service made a mistake and returned a check as undeliverable. I called the number that I received, was connected to a call center in India — IL0250952 case number and was told it was fixed. This morning I received a banking alert that informed me that AMEX has put a stop payment order out on all of the checks it had sent me — dozens. Now I’m on hold with a call center in the Philipines. Can anyone help me get out of this hell?

    • Sorry to hear that you’re in this predicament. They’re known for great customer service, but this may apply mostly to consumer services and not the merchant & credit processing department.

      Are you dialing 1-800-528-5200? That appears to be the main line for customer service for merchant services.

      I’m not too familiar with the merchant servicing side, but escalating your calls to a customer service manager may help to find a resolution more quickly.

  • Kyle Rasmusson

    I am going to go out on a limb and say that the reason fewer people are using AmEx lately is because of credit histories. There are a lot of people for whom their credit rating has taken a hit in the past few years. AmEx usually has more stringent qualification requirements then some Visa or MC, so this may be a factor.

  • g

    I stumbled upon this website because I keep getting pre approved offers from America. Express but after reading all this back and forth nonsense in the comments below. No thanks.

  • Dee

    I tell you shop owners, I have driven by establishments when they did not take Amex, and they have lost 1000s of dollars because of it. Recently, I even ask by a store to not use my Amex, because Amex is horrible and treats the store terribly, and the store is going to drop them … just a bunch of double-talk. Well, why do you still advertise that you take Amex? The only reason I came to your store was because you advertised Amex, and had the product I needed. Last time I went there! BTW, Google is great at finding an alternative.