Amex now accepted in as many places as Visa, Mastercard

Jan 25, 2020

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If you’ve been holding off on American Express credit cards because they’re not as widely accepted, that’s no longer true.

As of 2019, Amex is now accepted in as many places as Visa and Mastercard, at least within the United States, CEO Steve Squeri announced Friday.

Related: Why more retailers than ever are accepting Amex

“After signing millions of merchants in recent years, we’re there,” Chief Financial Officer Jeff Campbell told Bloomberg. “Our challenge now, which will take some time to change, is perception will lag reality.”

American Express has spent years courting businesses to accept its cards for payment. Amex’s higher merchant fees have been a primary point of pushback from most merchants, especially from small businesses. In response, Amex dropped its rates, charging merchants just 2.37% per transaction in 2019, down from 2.48% in 2014, according to Bloomberg.

Related: How to choose the best American Express credit card for you

Squeri’s predecessor, former CEO Ken Chenault, began the initiative to bring Amex to the retail masses years prior. Chenault launched the OptBlue program within Amex, which lowered costs for small businesses willing to accept Amex cards in payment. The efforts were successful; in 2019 alone, one million new U.S. storefronts began sporting the Amex branded decal, Squeri said Friday.

Related: How small businesses can start accepting American Express cards

Amex shares surged 4.5% to a record $137.25 Friday morning, Jan. 24 — the highest same-day increase in over a year.

Featured photo by Getty Images.

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