Almost a million new U.S. locations were added to American Express network in 2019 as a result of American Express’ efforts to “make it easier for merchants – small, medium and large – to accept American Express”. These efforts included the introduction of:
- OptBlue in 2014 that enabled small businesses to set the rate and accept Amex cards through their existing processor.
- New merchant-friendly policies. “What we pay to accept American Express Cards is in line with what we pay to accept credit cards in general,” says Rebecca Roth Gullo, owner of Blackbird Doughnuts in Boston, MA.
- Shop Small and Small Business Saturday movement, driving more customers through small businesses’ doors on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, generating an estimated $19.6 billion in sales for U.S. local businesses in 2019, according to Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey.
American Express is also making inroads in new industries and now Amex card holders can pay their water bill, rent, healthcare costs, and tuition. “American Express Cards, whether personal, co-brand, small business or corporate, now have even greater utility because our Card Members can use them with more confidence in more places,” said Anré Williams, Group President, Global Merchant & Network Services, American Express.
While American Express builds and maintains its high level of merchant acceptance in the U.S. its international network is still rather weak. The payments company says it “has a robust strategy to significantly expand coverage internationally over the next few years.” In 2019, two million new places outside of the U.S. started accepting American Express, so perhaps there is more convenience to look forward to during your upcoming trips abroad with Amex in your wallet.
If readers are looking to take advantage of Amex’s greater acceptance in the US and earn some points, one of our recommended cards is the American Express® Gold Card, which earns 60,000 Membership Rewards Points (after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months), 4x rewards points on every $1 spent on dining at restaurants worldwide, 4x rewards points on every $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1x), and 3x rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines and on amextravel.com.