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Is American Express OptBlue right for your small business?

The OptBlue program makes it easy and affordable for small businesses to accept American Express


If your small business does not currently accept American Express cards due to concerns about rates or fees, the American Express OptBlue program is an affordable solution that will enable your business to add Amex to its list of consumer payment options.

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Does your small business accept American Express? If not, you might be missing out on valuable customers. Believe it or not, many consumers make purchasing decisions based on whether a particular storefront accepts their preferred method of payment. If your business doesn’t accept Amex, you could be leaving money on the table.

The American Express OptBlue program is designed to help small business owners add American Express to their list of accepted payment options. By connecting with third-party providers who have the ability to set affordable American Express processing rates, your business can let potential customers know that all major credit cards are welcome.

What is American Express OptBlue?

American Express OptBlue allows small business owners to contract with third-party providers to enable their businesses to accept American Express cards at point of sale.

Some small businesses choose not to accept American Express cards because of the merchant fees associated with processing the cards; however, American Express OptBlue is designed to make the processing aspect more affordable and open up opportunities for both small business owners and customers.

With American Express OptBlue, the rates are set by the third-party provider. Small business owners can then receive a single statement, deposit and service contract for all the major credit cards they accept. Although rates will vary by provider, they’ll almost always save small business owners money.

Pros and cons of American Express OptBlue

When you sign up for American Express OptBlue, you’ll be able to integrate American Express card processing into your existing payment infrastructure. If your merchant account provider offers American Express OptBlue, you won’t have to change providers – and you’ll have more affordable rate options.

However, if your provider does not participate in the OptBlue program, you’ll have to decide whether you want to keep the provider you have or switch to a provider that allows you to accept American Express.

If you do participate in OptBlue, American Express offers tools to help your small businesses with its marketing, including free storefront signage to let customers know you accept Amex. Your small business also might be featured in an American Express email campaigns or included on American Express’s Shop Small Map.

Who should use American Express OptBlue?

If you are a small business owner who does not currently accept American Express, the OptBlue program can make Amex transactions both easy and affordable. Allowing customers to use their preferred American Express card at the point of sale can benefit both your business and your customer relationships.

Plus, being able to advertise that you accept American Express might boost your overall sales. According to a recent American Express survey, 61% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when they see that a storefront accepts their preferred payment method. Displaying a sticker or placard indicating that your business accepts Amex could convert a few more window-shoppers into customers.

How do you qualify for the OptBlue program?

U.S.-based small businesses that process less than $1 million in American Express transactions per year are eligible to apply for American Express OptBlue.

If you are interested in learning more about OptBlue and beginning the application process, visit the American Express OptBlue site and contact a participating provider or reach out to American Express directly for more information. If your business doesn’t qualify for OptBlue, there may be other opportunities for you to incorporate American Express into your payment processing systems.

Be aware that there are some franchise and industry restrictions in place, and not all small business owners will be able to take advantage of the OptBlue program.

Bottom line

If your small business does not currently accept American Express cards due to concerns about rates or fees, the American Express OptBlue program is an affordable solution that will enable your business to add Amex to its list of consumer payment options. With a single service contract, statement and deposit, American Express OptBlue can help you reach new customers, streamline your paperwork and get back to running your business.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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