Saturday, February 13, 2016

AmEx picks JetPay for cut-rate small-merchants program

Lower fees to attract smaller payments vs Visa, MasterCard

AmEx picks JetPay for cut-rate small-merchants program

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JetPay Corp., the Berwyn-based electronic payments processor headed by former MAC Card head Bipin Shah of Rosemont, is the first transaction-processing company to start handling American Express Corp. transactions under a new AmEx program for merchants that bill less than $1 million in AmEx transactions a year.

Check out JetPay's AmEx service here. Rival Transfirst is doing this, too. Others are expected to sign up, extending American Express cards to small restaurants and other businesses at reduced rates.

Under a program AmEx calls "Opt Blue," AmEx is using the processors to offer small merchants a fee below its usual interchange rate (typically 3.5% or more). It's a way of competing with Visa and MasterCard (which typically charge around 2%-2.5%) for retailers who have up til now seen AmEx cards as too expensive and out of their reach.

AmEx has clearly given its blessing, but doesn't want to talk about details of the program, since "it is still early days," AmEx spokeswoman Sanette Chao told me.

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PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at http://www.philly.com/PhillyDeals and his Inquirer columns at http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/joseph-distefano/. Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

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