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AMEX not accepted or surcharge

aschmid

Member
Joined
May 13, 2005
Messages
113
[MOD EDIT]
... I've made a Wiki that lists AMEX-accepting merchants by category within the various major cities (and also in the 'national' section for chains, telcos, hotels, etc). Where available, it also includes information about any minimum purchase amounts and AMEX surcharges.

The address is: http://www.amexmerchants.info. The site can be viewed without needing a username and password. If you have information that you would like to contribute to it, simply send me a PM on here with your email address, and an account (with editing privileges) will be created on the wiki for you.

I've added quite a bit of detail to the Brisbane, Brisbane Airport, Sydney Airport and national sections, and have also added a little information on Sydney too (but it would obviously benefit from contributions from those that live there).

Hopefully this leads to many more points coming your way over the coming months! :)

[/MOD EDIT]


I was wondering what the experience of forum members is about AMEX card not being accepted in many places or a surcharge is asked for and in particular if anybody has any insight if AMEX is doing anything about it?

Just to make my point this month I spend around $2,000 on my AMEX credit card. This is my preferred method of purchase as I get points. However I also had to spend around $1,000 on my VISA because of AMEX not being accepted.

That's like 1/3 of the places do not accept AMEX card!?!

Also I have frequently complaint to AMEX about this on their website. Occasionaly they respond back with a letter saying that they can't do anything about this and continue to expand their network in Australia.

Is this true? Are they expanding their network or does it shrink? Any experience from forum members?

Also with the new laws coming in that shops can pass on credit card fees to consumers AMEX is really at an disadvantage from my point of view as they charge higher fees and now shops can legally pass it on to customers.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

N860CR

AFF Supporter
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
3,319
A lot more places seem to be doing it now (because they legally can, so why wouldn't they). I usually do the same as you and end up putting half of my purchases on Visa. What gets me is the fee is never uniform, ranges from 2-5%. If they're going to do it, there should be guidelines so some places aren't just doing it to get a bit of extra $$$ for themselves.
 

neil_gardner

Intern
Joined
Nov 26, 2004
Messages
78
I tried to use my AMEX at Melbourne Duty Free to buy some wine for a friend in California (I was heading out on United).

They wanted to charge a $5 flat fee for using my AMEX over a Visa Card.

I politely declined adn used my ANZ FF Card.
 

Damien

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2005
Messages
300
It's disappointing, but that's just how it is. I don't see it changing anytime soon. I suspect it's the very reason most of us carry a Visa as well as an Amex.
 

JohnK

AFF Supporter
Joined
Mar 22, 2005
Messages
41,165
Re: AMEX not accepted or surchage

aschmid said:
That's like 1/3 of the places do not accept AMEX card!?!

Is this true? Are they expanding their network or does it shrink? Any experience from forum members?
There are places that don't accept Amex but I don't think that the number is as high as 1/3.

aschmid said:
Also with the new laws coming in that shops can pass on credit card fees to consumers AMEX is really at an disadvantage from my point of view as they charge higher fees and now shops can legally pass it on to customers.
There is also nothing stopping you from shopping around and find places that do accept Amex without a surcharge and boycott anyplace that does charge you a surcharge. In some cases you may not be able to find alternatives and then you can use Visa or pay cash.

I can purchase most of the things I want/need with Amex and not pay any surcharges. Here are some examples of the top of my head

Car - Bob Jayne, K-Mart Tyre and Auto
Petrol - Coles Express, Woolworths, BP, many others
TV - Optus, Foxtel
Phone - Vodafone, Optus, most low cost international phone cards
Restaurant - Most restaurants I visit readily accept Amex
Liquor - Liquorland, Mac's liquor
Supermarket - Woolworths, Coles
Variety Stores - Big W, Target, Kmart, Lowes, David Jones, Grace Bros
Computer equipment - Harvey Norman, D!ck Smith, Officeworks
Furniture - Harvey Norman
Airfares - QF online, Finnair online, any travel insurance online
Accommodation - Anywhere in Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand
Car registration & Insurance - NRMA, RTA

Downtown duty free can go to hell, I'll purchase duty free liquor from Singapore. Unfortunately I can only purchase cigarettes for dad in Australia, doesn't like overseas variety, but still save $60+ for cigarettes while giving them $1 surcharge.
 

Jobu

Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2005
Messages
496
Are there any places that accept AMEX but not VISA?

Is there any advantage of Mastercard over VISA?

Cheers,

JOBU
 

Damien

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2005
Messages
300
Jobu said:
Are there any places that accept AMEX but not VISA?
I doubt it. It seems that Visa will allow just about anyone to accept their cards. It also helps that the fees are lower.

Jobu said:
Is there any advantage of Mastercard over VISA?
Not in my experience.
 

N860CR

AFF Supporter
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
3,319
A while ago cabs in Sydney used to take everything except Visa, although that's been changed now.
 

markis10

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2004
Messages
30,091
From a shop's point of view Amex is less attractive than other cards because of:

1. Higher transaction fees that may or may not be recouped back by surcharges
2. Settlement of funds, with othercards the money is credited to your account the next day after settlemetn, with Amex that can be up to 30 days after you settled, effectively a 30 day account.
 
M

MetroAir

I guess it depends on the relationship you have with the merchant.

My local bottle shop (where I buy a fair bit of wine) recently told me they were going to introduce a fee, when I said that it would spell the end of my shopping there, they waived it and have continued to do so (even put a note up on the till for casual staff).
 

cpl

Intern
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
72
neil_gardner said:
I tried to use my AMEX at Melbourne Duty Free to buy some wine for a friend in California (I was heading out on United).
They wanted to charge a $5 flat fee for using my AMEX over a Visa Card.
I politely declined adn used my ANZ FF Card.
I just walk away in most cases. If they dont want my money... other shops do. In the end the card fee is just one component in the calculation and therefore as ridiculous as Q's fuel surcharge (basically making the public believe other businesses are not affected by climbing fuel prices).
 

QF WP

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Jun 20, 2002
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Just to make my point this month I spend around $2,000 on my AMEX credit card. This is my preferred method of purchase as I get points. However I also had to spend around $1,000 on my VISA because of AMEX not being accepted.

That's like 1/3 of the places do not accept AMEX card!?!
No, that's one third by value not accepting Amex, not one third of places. You will find that it's fairly normal for retailers not always accepting Amex and why most of us carry two cards for that reason.
 

aschmid

Member
Joined
May 13, 2005
Messages
113
Has anybody also thought about the fact that AMEX has a part in this game. Why does AMEX need to charge higher fees compared to other credit card companies?

For me AMEX is a credit card provider. The reason I have a credit card is to make it easier to purchase things without having to carry around cash.

What's the use of a credit card that is not accepted in some places and I have to carry around another card for those places?

Shouldn't AMEX also step up here and say we lower the fees we charge and encourage shops to accept our card so we can provide a better service to our card holders?
 

Sheriff

Member
Joined
May 22, 2005
Messages
167
Consumers have always been slugged a surcharge when credit cards are used to purchase goods/services because merchants have always believed in a user pay credit card system.

In the past merchants have passed on the surcharge/merchant fee to the consumer incorporated into the purchase price of goods/services.

Now that the law permits, some merchants are ripping off consumers by openly passing on another surcharge, which ranges from 2-5% and in some cases even a flat fee

But just because some merchants are not passing on a credit card surcharge doesn’t necessarily mean consumers are not paying a hidden one.

The fact that some merchants are not passing on the surcharge, even though the law permits, is evidence enough that consumers are already being charged a hidden one.

The merchants that JohnK mentioned are happy to continue to charge the consumer a hidden credit card surcharge, which can be increased at any time without the consumer’s knowledge.

When returning from the States recently, just before clearing customs, passed by Downtown Duty Free to purchase fragrance for a friend using my Amex and was advised on presenting my credit card that a 2% surcharge applies. So put the transaction on my Woolworths Ezy MasterCard because I refuse to be ripped off!

The reality is that all consumers are paying credit card surcharges. The trick with paying surcharges is to make sure you pay them once only.
 

JohnK

AFF Supporter
Joined
Mar 22, 2005
Messages
41,165
Sheriff said:
The merchants that JohnK mentioned are happy to continue to charge the consumer a hidden credit card surcharge, which can be increased at any time without the consumer’s knowledge.

The reality is that all consumers are paying credit card surcharges. The trick with paying surcharges is to make sure you pay them once only.
You are right in a way.

What merchants do under the covers with credit card surcharges I couldn't care about. They also mark up cost prices to make profits.

I ask for a cash price and then offer to pay by Amex. If the price differs because I am using Amex then 99% of the time the transaction is off.

You will also find the merchants I have mentioned are in most cases the cheapest as well.
 

oz_mark

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Jun 30, 2002
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JohnK said:
I ask for a cash price and then offer to pay by Amex. If the price differs because I am using Amex then 99% of the time the transaction is off.
If you ask for a cash price the retailer can discount the surcharge from the cost. It's a bit much to expect them to then honour the price when you say "oh actually when I said cash, I didn't mean cash, I meant American Express."
 

JohnK

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Joined
Mar 22, 2005
Messages
41,165
oz_mark said:
If you ask for a cash price the retailer can discount the surcharge from the cost. It's a bit much to expect them to then honour the price when you say "oh actually when I said cash, I didn't mean cash, I meant American Express."
Unfortunately that is business. If they want me to buy something from them there has to be something in it for me as well.

BTW we are talking about large merchants, not the corner store, who are adding hidden surcharges on top of exorbitant profit margins to selling price.
 

oz_mark

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JohnK said:
Unfortunately that is business. If they want me to buy something from them there has to be something in it for me as well.
If you pay cash you get a discount - that is what is in it for you. If you use a card, you get points but those points have to be paid for somewhere by someone, somehow.
 

DPG

Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2005
Messages
172
Hi all...

I just thought I would chime in and ask a question about people's tollerance towards Credit Card Fees...

Working in an industry where it is common to charge CC surcharges... It is interesting to see people's tolerance to the surcharge.

Some pay it without hesitation, others think of their points, while others go and get cash etc.

So how tolerant are the users or AFF?

I am willing to pay up to around 1.5% for AMEX as I guestimate that I am almost getting value from the points. I usually refuse paying extra for Visa/Mastercard as I know I can find it the same price without the surcharge elsewhere.

D P G
 

JohnK

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Joined
Mar 22, 2005
Messages
41,165
oz_mark said:
If you pay cash you get a discount - that is what is in it for you. If you use a card, you get points but those points have to be paid for somewhere by someone, somehow.
oz_mark each of those merchants mentioned by me earlier in this thread are quite happy to give me the same price for credit card as if I was paying cash. Plus I get the credit card reward points as well.

They win by making a sale and I win by buying something that I want/need plus the reward points.

As far as I am concerned Amex is as good as cash and if they can't absorb the merchant fees (or add it as a hidden surcharge for everyone including cash buyers) from Amex or any credit card company then they are not worthy for me to buy from them.
 

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