Amex Aims to Onboard Thousands of Small Australian Merchants

American Express has launched a campaign to increase acceptance of its cards in Australia.

The company’s OptBlue program is set to onboard “thousands” of small merchants onto American Express’s network via two merchant acquirers, Fiserv and Tyro, the company said in a news release provided to PYMNTS Sunday (Dec. 17).

According to the release, OptBlue lets small businesses process American Express transactions “at a competitive rate” compared to other card programs, “with both acquirers providing a one-stop-shop servicing solution for all card types including a single statement and settlement process, plus a single onboarding journey and servicing contact.”

Stacey Rylands, vice president of merchant acquisition for American Express Australia and New Zealand, said in the release that expanding use of the company’s cards has been a key priority for some time.

“Not only is it a win for American Express card members, but for thousands of additional small businesses across the country set to benefit from Amex card members who on average, spend 3.4 times more annually than non-card members and 2.4 times more per purchase,” she said.

“At a time when small businesses are facing significant economic pressure, every high spending customer through their doors is a huge win.” 

PYMNTS has been monitoring the pressures facing small and midsize businesses (SMBs) for much of this year.

PYMNTS Intelligence data has found that, as of the midpoint of this year, more than half of SMBs had “no current access to credit.” And just about a third of the more than 500 SMB owners interviewed said they had access to both business and personal funds. Roughly 4 in every 10 of these businesses say they are more worried about inflation than one year ago, and as many as 15% reported being worried about dwindling revenues.

“A boost in sales would be a critical way to meet operating expenses,” PYMNTS wrote last month. “If nearly half of SMBs are looking to tap into credit, as we’ve found they are, the spigots are decidedly being tightened.”

For example, recent estimates by the Kansas City Fed showed a decline in small business lending in the second quarter, down nearly 17% from the same quarter in 2022.