American Express Merchant Services Overview
American Express Merchant Services is the credit card processing division of consumer credit titan American Express. Unlike Visa and MasterCard, American Express sells its merchant accounts directly and does not allow ISOs or resell its merchant services. This means that business owners who wish to accept American Express cards from their customers in addition to Visa and MasterCard will need to open a dedicated American Express merchant account directly through American Express. Usually, merchant account providers can open an American Express merchant account in the merchant’s name at the same time that they open a Visa/MasterCard account, but the AmEx account is still specifically provided and serviced by American Express.
Until 2014, American Express’s per-transaction fees were set by American Express and could not be altered by ISOs and other resellers. These fees were generally higher than those charged by Visa and MasterCard, which deterred many merchants from accepting American Express from customers. This model is still the norm for the vast majority of merchants, but a new program called American Express OptBlue is enabling select providers to set their own rates for American Express transactions. Under the OptBlue program, merchant account providers are given wholesale pricing from American Express and are free to set their own markup on each card type, giving them greater flexibility than was previously available. Notable OptBlue participants include First Data, EVO Payments International, Global Payments, WorldPay, and Vantiv.
American Express provides phone support from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and also offers online support.
At a glance
Location: New York City
Acquiring bank: American Express
E-mail: Contact portal here
American Express Promotional Video
Online reputation and reviews
Despite its large size, American Express has received fewer than 50 negative reviews on consumer protection websites. The company seems to benefit from selling its services directly, and the simplicity of its pricing outweighs the higher cost for many merchants. Many merchants express the opinion that if you don’t want to pay American Express’s fees, then you can just choose not to accept American Express from customers. This has been the rule for some time now and does not appear to have impacted the company’s bottom line or public image.
Legal actions and lawsuits
There are no outstanding or recently resolved legal actions related to American Express Merchant Services at this time.
Do you accept American Express at your business? Rate the company at the top of this post and tell us about your experience in the comment section below: