American Express, also known as AMEX, is a credit card company based in USA and has a long history. Unlike credit cards like Visa and Mastercard which are issued by banks, American Express issues its own cards directly to consumers.
A Short History of American Express
American Express is the oldest credit card company in the world, It started in 1850 as an express mail business . The company moved into financial services and became very successful with traveller’s cheques in 1891.
The first American Express credit card was launched in 1958. It was made of paper, which was not very durable, so they changed to plastic in 1959.
What American Express is Known for
American Express cards are accepted by many businesses across the world. In Canada and USA, roughly 12 million businesses accept AMEX. American Express is known for supporting high value transactions. In fact, the highest credit card purchase ever made so far was for a $170 million painting at a Christie’s auction using American Express. American Express is very popular with business clients and frequent travellers.
The fees to process American Express are generally higher for merchants. However, it is also determined that American Express clients spend more. This is one reason why AMEX has been more common for larger merchants that process greater than $1 million per year.
American Express for Small Business with OptBlue
AMEX OptBlue is a program to get smaller businesses to accept American Express. OptBlue basically offers wholesale rates to payment processors, who then pass those rates on to merchants with their margin attached.
Should I Accept American Express?
In general, the more forms of payments you accept, the higher your sales will be. It has been found that merchants that accept credit cards have over 20% higher sales. By accepting American Express, you may attract a new group of customers that generally spend more than others.
AMEX has traditionally been thought of as expensive and rare, however they have made AMEX quite a bit more accessible, especially with their OptBlue program.