American Express is considered the priciest in terms of credit card processing fees. Their high discount rates, which often reach 3.5%, are higher than that of competitors like MasterCard and Visa.
While more expensive, up until recently Amex has kept its pricing model simple, meaning most merchants paid the same (high) credit card processing fees.
American Express’ processing structure is changing with the recent introduction of OptBlue. The details on OptBlue are scarce, but we do know through this new program Amex will be structured more like its competitors – differentiating more between transactions, merchant category codes, etc. Whether credit card processing fees for American Express will drop as a result of OptBlue remains to be seen.
One of the major sought after changes by merchants is the way in which Amex handles returns. While other card issuers will refund the business part of the cost of the credit card processing fees charged to the merchant, American Express did so only when after merchants agreed to paying higher processing fees per transaction. Many hope the new OptBlue program will make Amex a little bit more merchant-friendly in that regard. Once any new details are released, this guide will be changed to reflect them.
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