Q. American Express? Do my customers carry it?
A. One of the biggest changes American Express has seen over time is the expanded demographic of our Cardmembers. No longer are American Express Cards just for a certain audience. While we still have mainly high income, high spending Cardmembers, our Card portfolio has become far more wide-ranging. This means there’s a more diverse and larger range of people who carry our cards.
Q. My competitors don’t take it. Why should I?
A. American Express Cardholders have been proven to have higher transaction values and spend more frequently. This is supported by a strong loyalty program. American Express offers an opportunity for Merchants to attract and retain great customers. What’s more, American Express Cardmembers actively seek out accepting Merchants, which gives your business the chance to stand out against the rest.
Q. How quickly am I paid for my American Express transactions?
A. This will vary, with some Merchants receiving same day payments. However, please note this is dependent on your agreed payment plan.
Q. Why do you pay net? Other Card issuers don’t.
A. There are many things about American Express that are different from other cards; our payment terms are one of them. Once you’re used to it, like everybody else that welcomes our Card you’ll realise that it’s not more difficult, just different.
Q. How will you help me attract American Express Cardmembers?
A. American Express Cardmembers are great customers who actively seek out accepting Merchants. There is no better advertising for these customers than placing the American Express decal or other Point of Purchase materials at your location. In addition, we offer a variety of products and services to help you attract more Cardmembers including, in some cases, marketing support programmes.
Q. I am already an American Express Merchant. How do I find my Merchant number?
A. Your Merchant number can be found on the top left hand side of your statement. It is a ten digit number, beginning with the digits 984 (New Zealand Merchants only).
Q. What is Online Merchant Services?
A. Online Merchant Services (OMS) enables you to manage your account via the internet. Once enrolled, you can view and analyse your statement quickly and securely. Find out more about Online Merchant Services.
Q. Why should I manage my account online?
A. It enables you to:
- View and download your statement whenever you need to.
- Export your statement to a spreadsheet application, for further analysis.
- Easily find date or Card number specific settlements, transactions, adjustments or Chargebacks on your account.
- View financial data for all your branches with one User ID, making it easier if your payments are reconciled centrally.
Q. Do you charge for Online Merchant Services?
A. No. In fact, if you become an American Express Merchant and enrol for Online Merchant Services, you’ll automatically switch to paperless statements, saving you $5.00 (NZD) per statement (the amount we charge for issuing your paper one).
Q. What are the minimum technical requirements for using Online Merchant Services?
A. You’ll need Netscape® Navigator, Microsoft ® Internet Explorer version 4.0, or America Online version 4.0 or higher. You may use either an IBM-compatible, or Apple Macintosh ® personal computer, that can run any of the above browsers. For optimum viewing, we recommend using a modem of 14.4 kbps, or higher.
Q. Can my employees have a different username and password for my account(s)?
A. Yes, you can have more than one User ID and password for your account, so every employee using OMS can have separate access.
Q. How far back does my online statement go?
A. Your current statement shows you up to 35 days’ activity. Plus your last 12 months’ activity is also available, if you require it.
Q. Can I export my financial data for further analysis?
A. Yes, you can export your statement details into spreadsheet applications, such as Microsoft ® Excel.
Q. Can I view individual transactions online?
A. Yes. You can easily view amount, date range, or Card number specific transactions.
Q. Can I monitor disputed transactions using Online Merchant Services?
A. No. OMS in New Zealand currently does not differentiate between normal and disputed transactions. However, once you are aware a transaction is disputed, you can easily locate it by entering the amount, date or Card number into the search box.
N.B. Searching by Card number enables you to ascertain how many times a fraudulent Card has been used in your business.
Q. What is a dispute?
A. Occasionally, a Cardmember contacts American Express to query a charge, either because they don't recognise it, or require additional information about it. Usually, this occurs within 60 days of the Cardmember receiving their statement. This is known as a 'dispute'.
Q. What is a Chargeback?
A. When a Cardmember disputes a charge, we check the details of the transaction with the Merchant. Usually the dispute has no grounds, and the charge stays in place. However, if there's reason to uphold the dispute, we credit the Cardmember's account, and debit the Merchant's account, with the transaction amount. This is known as a 'Chargeback'.
Q. Would I be notified of a dispute or chargeback?
A. If a Cardmember questions a charge, and the data we hold is insufficient to resolve the issue, we may contact you for further information. We'll send you a 'Request for Information Letter', outlining the reason for the dispute and specifying the documents we require from you. Please ensure that you respond fully, by the reply-by date indicated on the letter.
In certain circumstances, we initiate a Chargeback without sending a Request for Information letter. An example of this is with Merchants who receive a lot of disputes, or conduct transactions in what we consider to be risky business environments.
Where any enquiry results in a Chargeback to your account, we will notify you accordingly.
Q. What is fraud, and how does it affect me?
A. Fraud comes in many forms, like stolen and counterfeit Cards, for example. It's likely you'll have to deal with attempted fraud at some point, so it's important you recognise the telltale signs to avoid fraudulent transactions. If you're slow to react, it can result in loss of goods and revenue through Chargebacks.
Q. How can I avoid fraudulent transactions?
A. We take the security of your business very seriously, that is why we provide guidelines to help you avoid fraudulent activity, whichever type of transaction you are dealing with.
Some ways to help detect fraud include:
- Checking the Card has not expired, been altered, or damaged.
- Carefully comparing the customer's signature on the receipt, with the signature on the Card.
- Only sending merchandise to the billing address on the Card, and obtaining signed proof of delivery.
Making sure your internet checkout is secure
, with industry-standard encryption.
Q. Who can I contact about a dispute or Chargeback?
A. Call our team on 0800 800 855 - Option 2 (Monday-Friday, 8.00am-6.00pm) for further information.
Q. What is the Data Security Operating Policy?
A. It’s an American Express policy with which all Merchants, Processors, and Service Providers that store, process or transmit American Express® Cardmember information must comply. This policy has been strengthened to reflect current business conditions, provides additional requirements to help safeguard Cardmember information and aligns with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI Standard). The PCI Data Security Standard sets out a common set of technical requirements for safeguarding sensitive payment data which are applicable across the industry.
Q. Who does the Data Security Operating Policy apply to?
A. It applies to all entities (Merchants and Service Providers) who process, store or transmit Cardmember information. Its requirements apply to all equipment, systems and networks on which American Express Cardmember information is processed, stored or transmitted.
Q. Why is the Data Security Operating Policy important to my business?
A. Compromised data can have a negative impact on your business, other Merchants and card issuers. Even one incident can severely damage a company's reputation and its ability to conduct business effectively. Addressing this threat by implementing security operating procedures can make your customers feel more secure and enhance the reputation of your business.
Q. Why should my business comply with Data Security Operating Policy?
A. The Data Security Operating Policy is a sound business practice and a requirement of American Express. By accepting American Express® Cards, you agree to be bound to terms and conditions of our Card Acceptance Agreement, which includes data security requirements and mandates compliance with American Express policies and procedures.
Q. Does the Data Security Operating Policy still apply to me if I do not store Cardmember information?
A. Yes, the policy still applies to any of your equipment, systems, and networks that transmit or process Cardmember information.
Q. Can a Merchant or Service Provider be considered compliant if it has outstanding non-compliance issues?
A. We encourage Merchants and Service Providers to complete an initial review, develop a remediation plan, complete items on the remediation plan, and revalidate compliance of those outstanding items. This plan can be submitted to American Express for review until full compliance can be achieved. If American Express accepts the plan, in its sole discretion, it can choose not to impose the non-validation fees for a Merchant's failure to provide the documentation validating its compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard. A Merchant may still remain liable for fraud as a result of a security compromise.
Q. How does the Data Security Operating Policy compare to the PCI Data Security Standard?
A. The PCI Data Security Standard is the technical foundation for the Data Security Operating Policy, allowing Merchants and Service Providers to comply with one set of data security technical standards. The Data Security Operating Policy defines the levels, requirements and validation deadline for American Express.
Q. I've been contacted by a company called Trustwave on behalf of American Express. I don't know who this Trustwave company is, and this sounds like a phishing scam. How do I know this isn't a scam?
A. American Express has retained Trustwave to help us administer our Data Security Compliance Program. Trustwave is a leading provider of information security and compliance management solutions to merchants and service providers. We are glad you're checking up on this - we can assure you that this company is reputable and will adhere to all American Express privacy principles.
Q. Can I use another company other than Trustwave to conduct the required assessment and/or scans?
A. Yes. You may use any of the approved vendors listed at https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/qsa_asv/find_one.shtml
Q. If I used another company to conduct my scan, do I have to provide it to Trustwave?
A. Yes, it will be necessary for you or your chosen authorised security vendor to submit this information to Trustwave (TW). TW has been contracted and authorised to collect this information on behalf of American Express.
Q. May I submit my validation documentation directly to Trustwave?
A. Yes, you may submit your validation documentation to Trustwave via our secure portal. Send an email to Trustwave at AmericanExpressCompliance@trustwave.com and request a customised link to the secure portal. Uploading your validation documentation is quick and easy.
Q. How will I know if my Merchant Account is eligible?
A. The criteria that we use to assess the eligibility of your Establishments are:
- Your Establishment currently accepts Card Present Charges (excluding Establishments that only conduct Internet, mail or telephone orders)
- Your Establishment is not in an industry that we consider “high risk”. See below list of “high risk” industries.
- Your Establishment is not on our Fraud Full Recourse Program, or
- There is no other reason that we would consider your Establishment to be ineligible for No Signature.
Q. What do you consider to be “high risk” industries?
A. We consider high risk industries, as follows:
- Auction Sales
- Bail Bondsman
- Cardmember Activated Terminals (such as Road Tolls, Car Parking Stations and Garages, Petrol Pumps, Cinema Kiosks, and Railway Self-Service Ticketing)
- Detective Agencies
- Door to Door Sales
- Financial Services
- Internet Electronic Services
- Night Clubs
- Online Pharmacies
- Payment Service Providers (Aggregators)
- Personal Services
- [FOR AUSTRALIA ONLY: Taxis]
- Telecommunications (Cellular Products/Services, Premium Rate Telephone Services and Telecommunications Calling Cards)