16 Replies Latest reply on Oct 21, 2015 4:50 PM by justmoody7

    "Sorry, we do not take American Express"

      This is my biggest frustration.


      Full disclosure; I worked for an AmEx subsidiary in the 80s and 90s (the hubris days) and my wife still calls me "fan boi" when it comes to AmEx.  I also travel a ton on business, both domestically and internationally so may have this issue come up more than others.   I get that in China I have to have a Visa (and the only reason a carry one is when I cannot use AmEx) but I am still surprised in NYC where I live when I am either scowled at or simply asked for a different card.  The only reason they give is the tired and incorrect "they charge ...%".   I was told by one merchant that the charge was "8% for American Express".  I know this to be false, personally, because I used to own a retail store and found Visa and MC was significantly higher when the bank fees (among others) were added.  However, Visa and MC only dinged me 2.75% directly.  I had to do the math with Wells Fargo to get the rest of the story.


      The question?  Why does AmEx not do a better job of education?  Is it the "consultant" merchant acquisition format that has one person selling multiple merchant services therefore not incentivized to correct the misperception? Is it that the compensation is low enough that the person has no incentive to fight a battle they do not care to win?


      How many of the rest of you find the same experience - that you have to carry more than the card you want to get what you need?  Do any of us carry a MC because we are concerned a merchant will not accept Visa? I proffer, no.



        • Re: "Sorry, we do not take American Express"

          I use Amex wherever I can when it is accepted. My second card of choice is a FNBO Discover. I also have had acceptance issues with Discover. After that is my Fifth Third Bank MasterCard which I use when neither Amex or Discover are accepted. My poor PNC Bank Visa sees little use monthly. I use it to pay my utility bill and little if anything else.

          • Re: "Sorry, we do not take American Express"

            If a merchant tells me AmEx charges them more, I must accept they got a better rate from the other cards.  it would be silly for a merchant to decline a card with all other things being equal.

              • Re: "Sorry, we do not take American Express"

                I am a small business owner and accepted AmEx for many years. In the 70's and 80's their fees were competitive with

                Mastercard , Visa and Discover. However, the fees started creeping up to the point of cutting into profits a bit too much.

                But the icing on the cake was when I started being charged $12.00 a month just for the privledge of accepting the card.

                When the economy crashed in 2008 and times really got tough they were one of the first to be cut. In the past 5 years

                I've only had 2 customers mention the fact that I no longer accepted AmEx. They always have a Visa.

                  • Re: "Sorry, we do not take American Express"

                    I tried to use my AMEX at a small business not too long ago, and was told by the owner the same thing.  We used to accept AMEX, but when we didn't do enough AMEX business to cover the fees we stopped accepting it.  I understand that, but as a business why not make your welcoming to people of all cards?   And why does AMEX not have a fee per charge, not monthly fee as suggested above?    I know of one small grocery store, that they penalize you for using plastic, they add on a percentage like 2-3 % for each transaction to recover their fees. 

                • Re: "Sorry, we do not take American Express"

                  My AMEX is my go-to card, but unfortunately I must carry another (MC in this case) for those annoying times when the merchant doesn't accept AMEX. I do a lot of travel both domestic and international for business and pleasure, and I've noticed that a good amount of merchants abroad either don't accept or will deny AMEX. Gone are the days of Karl Malden saying, "…don't leave home without it…"


                  In addition, I post many online reviews - predominantly on Yelp - and to show love for my wonderful experience of being a card member, by ending each review whether or not the business accepts AMEX. Funny enough, I've had several people compliment me for noting as such and even had one business private message me months later after I reviewed them that they now accepted AMEX! Power to the people, my friends!

                  • Re: "Sorry, we do not take American Express"

                    Quiet frankly, if a merchant does not accept my Amex and it's not something that I desperately need (in which case I can use my debit card) I walk out! Their loss, get with the times, it's a cut throat and competitive world out their, who can afford to lose any business, if you want mine, you need to accept every form of payment possible.


                    Which in my case is AMEX Platinum!

                    • Re: "Sorry, we do not take American Express"

                      I definitely prefer using my BCE whenever possible. Depending on what I'm purchasing, I do have a Citi Dividend (a Visa) with approximately the same credit limit, so it's not a huge disaster if they don't take it. I've also been happy with both Amex's and Citi's customer service. But with a big ticket item, I think I'd be more comfortable putting it on my Amex. I've so far had good experiences with the protection benefits that come with the card. I've read that other issuers don't make it as easy to claim those benefits. My Citi has many of the same benefits on paper as my Amex, but I haven't had to use them yet.

                      • Re: "Sorry, we do not take American Express"

                        This is a really great discussion and danenyc I'm really glad you brought it up. Thanks for everyone's point of view - keep it coming!

                        • Re: "Sorry, we do not take American Express"

                          Great discussion. Personally, the fact that Amex is not accepted everywhere is the only reason why I have two credit cards. Otherwise, I'll probably just use Amex. Sometimes, I am so used to have my card rejected that I don't say, do you take Amex, I say, I am assuming you don't take Amex ? I do get nice surprises sometimes. I agree though that this is frustrating. I just emailed a company where I make purchases regularly and asked why they don't take Amex and also told them to spare me the "higher fees" narrative lol.

                          • Re: "Sorry, we do not take American Express"

                            I have had the card refused a few times, what happened once was they would not take amex, but when the Manager saw the amount of what I was purchasing the attitude changed and they took the card.   What is the fee for the merchant from Amex, does anyone know.

                            • Re: "Sorry, we do not take American Express"

                              That is a good question as to why A e is not more aggressive to get their cards with all businesses.  I as you travel only internationally ans many will not take "theCard".

                              in the past they asked to be notified when the card was not accepted, but thus went on deaf ears as those companies still do not take the card, . . Thus AE is doing nothing to grow the access or the brand.


                              • Re: "Sorry, we do not take American Express"

                                I've experienced this several times with small businesses in particular and I believe it's something that AE needs to address. Many other brands offer the same rewards and benefits that AE offers, so there is no longer a justification for the increased fees for businesses. I love AE and will always be a card holder regardless, but I have to keep my Citi Double Cash card with me at all times in addition to my AEBC card because of this reason. This is a quote from NerdWallet.com concerning this topic:


                                "The basic reason that many retailers – particularly small businesses – won’t accept American Express is because of the fees the company charges businesses when customers swipe their card. Amex charges a retailer around 3.5% whenever a customer pays with one of their cards; by contrast, Visa and MasterCard charge around 2-3%, and sometimes less for debit cards. While this may not seem like much, many small businesses operate low-margin businesses where even a percentage makes a difference."


                                Great initial post btw!