Historically, when a business wanted to accept American Express, they would need to setup an account directly with American Express. Unfortunately, the processing rates that went along with doing so were significantly higher for most merchants than their Visa or MasterCard rates (sometimes by a full percentage point). Years ago I called American Express to try and negotiate our rates but ended up hitting a brick wall. Many of our customers prefer to pay us via American Express because of the rewards program, so we have continued to accept it regardless of the fees.
Earlier this year we were quoted new credit card processing rates and I was astounded to learn how much money we were able to save. After digging deeper, I learned that our new merchant account provider was part of a new American Express program termed OptBlue. With OptBlue, merchant account providers have some latitude with American Express processing rates and can bring them in line with Visa and MasterCard Rates. The net result was a savings of greater than $1,200/month for our company! What’s the downside? There truly wasn’t one. In fact, rather than receive a separate statement from American Express, we now have all of our credit charges consolidated on a single statement, which increased the number of smiles per day in our accounting department.
To qualify for the OptBlue program, your business must have American Express charges of under one million dollars per year. Also, not every merchant account processor is a part of OptBlue so it is important to find one that is. Our partner, EVO (a.k.a. e-onlinedata), is part of the OptBlue network. You can get a rate quote from them by completing this form. It is a simple way to save some money and generate more smiles from your friends in the accounting department.