This week marked another milestone in the evolution of our little Company. As of this afternoon, we will accept your American Express card for payment. This is, of course, in addition to all the other usual forms of payment: cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, Discover.
I’ve been an AMEX card holder since 1988. I’ve always been thrilled with American Express as a customer. They have provided benefits over the years that, to me at least, more than justified the fees and inconvenience associated with carrying their card. My Platinum AMEX is my primary credit card, and Debbie has a Gold that gets almost as much use as mine. But when we became merchants, we didn’t want the added overhead and expense associated with accepting the card. Well, that’s changed.
Why now? I’d love to tell you it’s the obvious reason: that customers want to use their AMEX to buy coffee. But while that is true, most AMEX card holders have become all too accustomed to pulling out a Visa or MasterCard when a merchant says no to their AMEX. So in reality, we really felt like we were not leaving business on the table by accepting only Visa/MC/Discover.
No, the thing that tipped it for us was American Express’ Small Business Saturday campaign that began this fall, and American Express OPEN for business that has been around for some time. These efforts on the part of American Express caused me to realize that AMEX may actually be able to do something for us as a small business. Hell, at least they’re trying. And that’s more than I can say for Visa, MasterCard or Discover (or the US government, for that matter).
So as of today, we can accept your American Express card for all your purchases from us, whether they are on our web site, at the roastery, or at mobile sites such as farmers’ markets.
Many customers are sensitive to slightly higher costs (to us) associated with card use, especially AMEX. They will often cautiously inquire if it’s OK for them to use their cards for a purchase. We anticipate this reaction will become more common now with the AMEX card. I am hereby ENCOURAGING you to use your American Express card INSTEAD OF CASH at our store. My sincere hope is that the money that goes to AMEX will be, in part, directed to more campaigns that raise the visibility of small businesses.