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Question on Credit Card merchant policy...

Super Contributor

Question on Credit Card merchant policy...

There's a restaurant I take clients to the past several years.  For business dining of this kind, I prefer to use my Amex business card.  In the past, they've always accepted Amex.

 

Recently, they've asked me to use my non-Amex cards (since they know I have them) by saying they don't accept Amex.  However, I've seen other customers pay with an Amex.  Now, in the front door, there is no "amex" blue box logo, so I know they aren't under any obligation to take Amex.  

 

My question is since they have the Visa/MC logo but no the Amex, does Amex allow them to pick and choose whom they allow to charge with an Amex because they don't display "amex cards welcomed here" signage?

 

Thanks!

6 REPLIES
Valued Contributor

Re: Question on Credit Card merchant policy...


Open123 wrote:

There's a restaurant I take clients to the past several years.  For business dining of this kind, I prefer to use my Amex business card.  In the past, they've always accepted Amex.

 

Recently, they've asked me to use my non-Amex cards (since they know I have them) by saying they don't accept Amex.  However, I've seen other customers pay with an Amex.  Now, in the front door, there is no "amex" blue box logo, so I know they aren't under any obligation to take Amex.  

 

My question is since they have the Visa/MC logo but no the Amex, does Amex allow them to pick and choose whom they allow to charge with an Amex because they don't display "amex cards welcomed here" signage?

 

Thanks!


Interesting question!  The July 2011 and later settlements with Visa/MC allow significant "merchant steerage", where the merchant can push towards one network, non reward cards etc  (and as of Jan 13 can add a surcharge for credit card payment) but the Jul 2011 settlement also contains:

 

The rule changes enhance merchants’ ability to manage the costs associated with accepting electronic payments. However, the
merchant must continue to respect a cardholder’s ultimate decision to pay with Visa: the settlement does not impact merchants’
existing obligation to accept for payment properly presented Visa cards, including rewards cards.

 

 

Of course, Amex aren't part of the settlements.
So as you suggest it maybe by not having the Amex sign, they don't have to accept Amex cards, and can do it on a case-by-case basis, like taking a personal check from a customer they trust and not from others.

Valued Contributor

Re: Question on Credit Card merchant policy...

A lot of merchants dont take AMEX because of the higher fees they have to pay. They are not bound or obligated to take it like Pizza Hut only accepts visa or mc. But on 1/27 merchants in some states are able to charge a fee for using a CC.


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Super Contributor

Re: Question on Credit Card merchant policy...

I'm think the July settlement had something to do with it, becuase I think it was then when they started telling me Amex cards are not accepted.  

Frequent Contributor

Re: Question on Credit Card merchant policy...

But the OP also stated that they take it from some and not others

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Contributor

Re: Question on Credit Card merchant policy...

Something similar happened to me with a local 75 unit pizza chain during Shop Small weekend. It was on the Shop Small website as a participating location for the $25 Amex credit. The website had it as a payment choice to pay online, but knowing some chains really don't charge the card at that point, I put pay in cash on the website. When I got to the store, no signage about taking AMEX at all, but V/MC/D signage. Luckily, the reader was out on the counter and you swiped it yourself, so I just ran the Amex. It took it, and I got my credit a day later.

Super Contributor

Re: Question on Credit Card merchant policy...


haiti222 wrote:

Something similar happened to me with a local 75 unit pizza chain during Shop Small weekend. It was on the Shop Small website as a participating location for the $25 Amex credit. The website had it as a payment choice to pay online, but knowing some chains really don't charge the card at that point, I put pay in cash on the website. When I got to the store, no signage about taking AMEX at all, but V/MC/D signage. Luckily, the reader was out on the counter and you swiped it yourself, so I just ran the Amex. It took it, and I got my credit a day later.


Most terminals are able to run Amex cards, but many merchants opt not to.  Wtthout the sign, my understanding is the merchant is free to pick and choose the form of payment from a case by case basis; or, persuade a customer to use a form of payment other than Amex.

 

Of course, I respect every merchant to run his or her business as they deem fitting, just as I as a consumer can opt to go elsewhere with my business.