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Why Should My Business Accept American Express?

March 25, 2022 • by shall

Today’s consumer not only prefers to use their credit or debit card when making a purchase, they expect the merchants they shop at to accept those cards as well.  However, American Express cardholders are oftentimes frustrated by the fact that some merchants still do not accept that particular card.  Even though a large percentage of merchants accept Discover, MasterCard, and VISA, there are still a number of them that do not accept American Express.

How Common Are American Express Cards?

As a merchant, you have to ask yourself whether or not you should accept this card.  Here are some things to consider before you make your decision. Aside from VISA (most accepted) and MasterCard (second-most accepted), American Express is the 3rd most commonly used credit card of US consumers.  The breakdown of credit card acceptance percentages among US merchants is:

  • • 54% VISA
  • • 23% MasterCard
  • • 19% American Express
  • • 4% Discover

Granted, 10% may not appear to be that large of a percentage, especially when you consider the fact that the majority of those consumers that have an American Express card also have a MasterCard and/or VISA as well. 

Why Don’t More Merchants Accept American Express Cards?

It appears that the primary reason why merchants do not accept AMEX is due to the fees that are associated with it which are considerably higher than the fees associated with the other two cards. However, if we look at the B2B (Business-to-Business) marketplace, the percentage of American Express volume rises dramatically. 

Just because some of your customers use their MasterCard or VISA, they may also have an American Express card and be discouraged because your business does not accept it.  Eventually, you may lose customers and revenue because they have found another merchant that will accept AMEX. If you think you are saving money by not accepting American Express credit cards because of not having to pay their higher transaction costs and fees, think again. 

By not accepting American Express, you could be losing sales and revenues which easily exceed the amount of money you have saved by not paying those transaction fees.  For all intents and purposes, the primary reason for accepting AMEX credit cards is because they invest those higher transaction fees in rewards programs that offer much higher payouts than what you would experience with MasterCard or VISA.

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