More places to earn points!
There are two words that every points and miles collector hates hearing – “no Amex”. It’s an unfortunately common phrase in many parts of the world, especially in small business and particularly Europe. Amex charges businesses more per transaction than other credit card issuers- and truth be told, some merchants just don’t want to take the financial hit, just to help prospective customers fly around the world for free. But that’s soon changing, thanks to an interesting new Amex policy…
Amex wants to bridge the gap between acceptance of Visa and Mastercard’s and Amex cards. Visa and Mastercard charge restaurants, bars, shops and anywhere else that takes card less per transaction than Amex. In fact, Amex can take up to 10% of the transaction from merchants when customers pay with select rewards cards. To bring cardmembers more places to use their credit cards, American Express is lowering the transaction fees merchants are charged. As a consumer, Amex fees have little to no affect on your wallet, but if more businesses will accept your card, there are obvious benefits.
Amex is known as a high end credit card issuer, even a luxury issuer in some circles. GSTP has spoken to restaurant owners who’ve mentioned they’d simply be out of business if they did not accept Amex. By lowering fees to an average 2.37%, according to the Financial Times, Amex will find more and more merchants caving and accepting your Amex cards. Oh yes, more points for you indeed.
This is not American Express’ first foray into wider acceptance. For many years running, Amex has partnered with small businesses to offer “Shop Small” days, in locations around the world. The annual promotions offer cardmembers discounts, rebates and rewards for shopping at small businesses, and this new move will only thaw relations further. If all goes to plan, virtually every business that takes card will soon take Amex too.
Lower Fees, Lower Rewards?
In most markets, Amex faces intense competition from other premium credit card offerings. It’s highly unlikely that Amex would decrease rewards to account for these lower fees, especially since wider acceptance would lead to increased transaction volume. Much like their counterparts at Chase and Citi, Amex points are especially valuable, thanks to their transferrable nature, giving cardmembers flexibility over which airline, hotel or product they’d like to use their points on.