As we mentioned in our previous blog post, American Express (AmEx) has a new program called OptBlue. This program has been developed with the goal of getting more small businesses to accept AmEx by simplifying the account setup and maintenance process, in addition to lowering costs.
In the past, even though your agent office set up your merchant account and continues to act as your main point of contact for everything else concerning it, AmEx would still have complete control over your American Express card acceptance. They would set the pricing, settle transactions separately, and require you to call them for any AmEx related customer service. Their most recent program, OnePoint, initiated a real change in this process by allowing agent offices to have greater control over the merchant’s AmEx accounts. With OnePoint, transactions began settling altogether and were shown on a single statement for your merchant account. However, AmEx was still completely in control of the pricing.
With the new OptBlue program, agent offices like eCom Merchant Solutions now have much greater control over pricing, which in turn allows us to offer lower costs to our merchants! In fact, we have established a very competitive AmEx rate that we are now offering all of our qualifying merchants.
As I mentioned above, the simplicity that OptBlue provides was highly influenced by a desire to allow more small businesses to accept American Express. Taking into account the higher rates that AmEx used to require, along with the more complicated process in having an account with them that was almost completely separate from the rest of your merchant account, most small business merchants previously did not feel that accepting American Express was worth the cost or hassle. OptBlue essentially removes all of these concerns. If you have checked out an American Express program in the past and decided against it, you might want to revisit that decision now with the addition of OptBlue.
OptBlue is going so positively that many processors are soon going to begin transitioning merchants’ American Express accounts under other programs, such as Direct and OnePoint, to all using OptBlue instead. Different processors are doing this switch at varying rates, but if you still use one of these older AmEx programs you can likely expect this automatic shift to occur sometime this year.
Let’s take a final look at why having OptBlue makes accepting American Express easier:
1) Your AmEx transactions will settle at the same time and be shown on the same statement as the other transactions processed through your merchant account.
2) You are now able to contact your agent office for AmEx customer support, but you can still participate in and benefit from any American Express merchant tools and services that are being offered.
3) Most importantly….much lower AmEx discount rates!
Call eCMS today to take advantage of our very low OptBlue rates, and allow your business to start accepting the higher average transactions that American Express card acceptance traditionally brings! 1-888-277-3332