When businesses decide to accept credit cards, they typically sign up for a merchant account that automatically bundles Visa, MasterCard and Discover together. The rates are reasonable, and competition amongst merchant account solutions provides plenty of payment processing options.

However, American Express (AMEX) is usually a closed ecosystem, with many smaller merchants getting priced out of the relatively high rates that American Express charges.

This all has changed, thanks to the recent launch of AMEX OptBlue. In fact, this new program is so successful that more than 400,000 small businesses have already signed on.

However, what is AMEX OptBlue, and how will it affect your business?

Card members regard American Express as an exclusive club. They’re fiercely loyal and tend to spend more than other cardholders.  American Express OptBlue makes it easier than ever before for merchants to accept American Express. Using American Express OptBlue*, merchants can consolidate the acceptance, settlement, funding, and dispute management for all their card brands with Maverick BankCard.  Merchants gain all the benefits of accepting American Express—including attracting higher spending and loyal customers and matched Visa & MasterCard—while creating operational efficiencies at the same time.  With American Express OptBlue you can reduce the time you spend reconciling payments and simplify card processing. Benefits of the program include:

  • Lower rates
  • Single source for all servicing, processing and contacts needs for all major card brands
  • Faster settlements
  • One statement for all card brands
  • One ACH for all cards
  • One dispute center
  • More payment choices for consumers

Are You Eligible for the OptBlue Program?

In order to qualify for OptBlue, you must process less than $1 million in American Express sales. Any business that goes above this threshold must join one of the company’s more established credit card programs.

Because of this stipulation, it’s pretty clear whom AMEX is targeting with OptBlue — namely SMB (Small and Medium Business) merchants.

Plus, if your average sale is below $150, you’ll likely fall into the lowest tier of AMEX’s wholesale pricing. The next increase doesn’t happen until you begin selling products and services in the $3,000 range.

This is yet another indication that the company is aggressively going after SMB merchants.

Is AMEX OptBlue Right for You?

If you don’t currently accept American Express, joining the OptBlue program is a no-brainer. Adding the AMEX logo to your website or window will help you attract more customers and more sales.

If you already do accept American Express — but process less than $1 million in transactions — joining OptBlue will likely reduce your merchant fees. Again, it’s an easy choice.