This is one of the top questions we get from clients, and it’s a tricky one. Accepting American Express cards is generally more expensive and inconvenient, since it requires a separate merchant identification number and often a separate billing statement. Some merchants have found the chargebacks are more frequent with AmEx, and in negotiations the customer is always favored.
In my experience, AmEx cardholders love their AmEx cards. They appreciate the card’s cash rewards, customer service, and high caps on purchases. People get AmEx cards because they want to use them, and they will be disappointed when they can’t. No doubt some will take their business elsewhere. But because accepting AmEx isn’t feasible for many small businesses, most AmEx cardholders are accustomed to hearing “no.”
A smart business owner conforms to the customer. Whether or not your customers will take kindly to a “no” is something you’ll want to gauge. I recommend that my clients talk to their customers about their payment preferences. I know retail boutiques who easily lose sales over not taking AmEx. On the other hand, I have medical clients whose customers are unlikely to complain if they have to use a different card.
A solution that works for some businesses is to accept AmEx but encourage customers to use a different card if they’re able. If you’d like to discuss a customized solution for your business, let’s talk. Email me here.