Everything you need to know about American Express

What is American Express, how does it work, and how can merchants integrate this payment method into their e-commerce store?

American Express: A global credit card solution

An e-commerce business can benefit greatly from expanding the available payment options with global coverage solutions. Still, some merchants don’t accept credit cards in favor of options such as bank transfers and cash. While it may save the business some money initially, it will inevitably turn away customers who can’t pay with their preferred method. More than half of such customers may never return to the site. Globally, more than 40% of customers prefer to pay with a credit card as it is safe, easy, and quick. It has become one of the most popular payment methods, especially for e-commerce. That’s why merchants looking to expand internationally need to accept credit cards such as American Express. 


What is American Express?

American Express – also known as AmEx – is an electronic card payment solution branded by the financial services company American Express . Over the years, it has become a key payment method worldwide and is currently accepted in more than 130 countries and 29 million stores worldwide (including 9 million in the United States). On average, Amex cardholders spend 3-4x as much as Visa and Mastercard cardholders, making it of particular interest to luxury, premium and high-end brands. An average American Express cardholder spends $16,400 per year (excluding the United States). In France, 1.2 million people have an American Express card. 

American Express runs its own processing network, competing with MasterCard and Visa. Since American Express earns its revenue from issuing credit cards and processing transaction services, the company provides high security levels coupled with fast processing speeds. All of this makes American Express one of the most sought-after payment methods on the market.

How does American Express work?

When a customer is ready to complete their purchase at the checkout, they can choose American Express as their payment method. This payment option directs customers to a special page where they can add their card details. This includes the card brand, cardholder’s name, card number, expiry date, and security code. Customers can then make their initial payment, and merchants receive funds instantly.

Why do merchants and consumers use American Express?

While credit cards generally positively affect their sales, customers tend to prefer using them for convenience. They may consolidate most of their purchases with credit cards for convenience, the ability to delay cash flow, and reward points. Many businesses have switched to accepting American Express cards in recent years because of the company’s perks. When customers use their AmEx card, they earn Membership Rewards points, which they can redeem for travel, gift cards, entertainment, and experiences. 

Another benefit of using an American Express credit card is the transaction protection provided by the company. Purchases made with an AmEx card can be covered if they are lost, stolen, or damaged. Travel protection is also available for those who pay with an AmEx card. Travelers who experience flight delays, cancellations, or interruptions can be reimbursed for expenses related to such occurrences. It’s easy to see why cardholders prefer American Express and may be disappointed when they cannot use their cards for online purchases.

Some merchants choose not to accept American Express, limiting their customers’ credit payment options to Visa and Mastercard. However, customers are used to being able to use AmEx to purchase their essentials and pick up points along the way. For American Express cardholders, it can be a jarring experience when their preferred payment method is refused. Merchants who consider the customer’s convenience and preference choose to accept AmEx – especially since points earned from payments translate to even more perks for the customer.

How can I start accepting American Express?

To accept American Express at your online store, use a payment gateway that offers this option. By partnering with a global payment service provider, you can increase your presence in local markets, capture new customer segments, and grow your business locally.

American Express FAQs (8)

In which countries is American Express used?

American Express is used across 130 countries around the world, and it’s one of the biggest credit card payment solutions with impressive global reach.

What are the benefits of accepting American Express as a merchant?

They accept American Express as a merchant that gives merchants access to valuable insight and analytics, greater customer loyalty, fraud protection, account management tools, and more. Additionally, customers can earn rewards for their purchases, enhancing their overall experience. 

Is it safe to use American Express as a payment method in the eCommerce industry?

Yes, all transactions made via Amex are secure and confidential due to their advanced fraud prevention technology systems, which provide secure payment processing solutions for merchants worldwide.  

Do I need any special equipment or software setup to accept American Express payments?

Most providers offer easy integration into existing checkout solutions and can typically be implemented without any new hardware or software requirements on your end.

Does the process take a long time when setting up to accept American Express?

Setting up and accepting American Express payments can typically be completed within a few days or less. It is important to contact the provider you are working with to find out specific details regarding their setup timeline. 

How quickly will I receive payments after each transaction?

Depending on the provider, you should generally expect to receive funds within one to two business days of a successful transaction. However, it is important to contact your payment processor to determine the exact timelines and fees associated with receiving funds. 

Is there any additional support available if I have questions?

Yes, American Express provides a comprehensive customer service and technical support team that is available to answer any questions you may have about accepting Amex payments. Additionally, many providers offer support teams to assist you with specific queries. 

What other services does American Express offer?

In addition to payment processing solutions, American Express provides its customers with various benefits and services such as travel rewards programs, gift cards, access to exclusive events and offers, fraud protection, and more. They also offer a range of business products that help merchants manage their finances, streamline operations, and enhance customer experiences.