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It’s easy doing business with American Express.

When dealing with any of our Merchants who accept American Express, we believe keeping it simple is the best approach. This section contains basic information you'll need once you have set up an American Express Merchant Account.

American Express also provides a range of transaction products to cater to your business needs. These cover both Cardmember present (face-to-face) and Cardmember not present (such as via mail, telephone, or the Internet) payments.

Average Merchant Service Fee
The average merchant service fee charged by American Express Australia Ltd for the period 1 October 2013 to 31 December 2013 was 1.73%.

Your American Express transactions occur in one of three ways:

1. Card transaction with the Cardmember present.
2. Card transaction with the Cardmember not present (such as via mail, telephone, or the Internet).
3. American Express Travellers Cheques.

The quickest way to accept our Cards is electronically. Our electronic authorisation and submission helps to speed up our payments to you. Contact your service provider or bank to request American Express 'enablement' on your EFTPOS terminal or acceptance product.

Now you're set up, let's look at the different kinds of transactions you will encounter.

1. How to handle a Card transaction with the Cardmember present.
Traditional magnetic strip and Chip cards (either PIN or Signature) are in circulation for both American Express and other card issuers around the world. So you're likely to see a mix of different Card types, all of which you should welcome equally. It's important that you check the validity of the Card and make sure it hasn't been visually altered or tampered with. Then follow these simple steps:

Magnetic Strip Cards - without a Chip

  • Swipe the Card.
  • If the magnetic strip is unreadable, you can key in the transaction manually and take an imprint of the Card to validate its presence.
  • Your EFTPOS terminal will automatically call American Express and respond with an Authorisation Code, a 'Decline' or a 'Call Issuer' message.
  • If you receive a 'Call Issuer' message, please call our Customer Care Professionals on 1300 363 614 (24 hours, daily). Always ensure you compare the signature on the receipt to the one on the back of the Card. If they do not match, refuse the transaction. For more information please read our Disputes section.

Cards with a Chip

  • Place the Card in the 'Chip' reader of your EFTPOS terminal.
  • If your terminal doesn't have a chipreader follow the instructions for Magnetic Strip Cards.
  • Follow the prompts on the terminal display to process the transaction.
  • If the transaction is approved, ask the customer to sign or enter their PIN. If the customer wants to sign you must compare their signature with the back of the Card.
  • Return the Card and provide the customer with a copy of their transaction receipt.
  • If the Chip transaction fails, follow the swipe card procedure detailed above.
  • If the Chip transaction is declined, refuse the transaction.
  • If you receive a 'Call Issuer' message please call our Customer Care Professionals on 1300 363 614 (24 hours, daily).

If your terminal is broken or unable to automatically connect to American Express
You may still accept American Express Cards manually if your EFTPOS terminal is unavailable. Simply follow these instructions:

  • Call our Customer Care Professionals on 1300 363 614 (24 hours, daily) to request an Authorisation Approval Code. The Authorisation timeframe is being reduced from thirty (30) days to seven (7) days to further align with the payments industry. You must ensure that all transactions are submitted within seven (7) days of the original Authorisation date. If the submissions are done after seven (7) days, then you may be liable for Chargebacks. Contact your terminal provider who will be able to advise you on the problem.

If your terminal is having difficulty accepting American Express transactions

  • Make a note of any messages or contact numbers that may be displayed on your terminal.
  • If no number is displayed, please contact your terminal provider for instructions.

2. How to handle a Card transaction, with the Cardmember not present.
In the case of mail, telephone or Internet transactions where the Cardmember is not present to sign or to enter in their PIN, you need to follow a different process.

You must obtain all required information from your customer in order to complete your transactions. The details you require depend on your 'Card not present' acceptance function. Contact your service provider to discuss these requirements. Or refer to the Card Acceptance Terms and Conditions.

Request an Authorisation Approval Code
Follow your 'Cardmember not present' process to request an authorisation. If this process is unavailable, then contact our Customer Care Professionals on 1300 363 614 (24 hours, daily).

3. How to handle American Express Travellers Cheques.
It's easy to accept our Travellers Cheques. You don't need to sign a contract, or pay any charges from American Express, and most banks accept them under the same conditions as any other cheque (check with your bank for details on charges and clearing times). Provided you follow some straightforward security procedures, we'll pay you for every cheque you deposit. As with any transaction, be vigilant. Discreetly watch your customer countersign the cheque and compare it with the original signature. Be sure to satisfy yourself that neither the original signature nor cheque numbers have been altered.

Need assistance?
If you're unsure about the validity of a Travellers Cheque, you can request authorisation from us either by our automated phone or online services.

  • By phone: call our specialist team on 1800 688 022 and follow the instructions.
  • Online: visit americanexpress.com/verifyamextc and review the PDF detailing the Travellers Cheque security features

You will need to call our specialist team on 1800 688 022 to request a free Travellers Cheques Merchant code.

Your statement will arrive in either one of two ways: by post, or you can download it from My Merchant Account/Online Merchant Services (OMS). Either way, if you need more information our Statement Guide has more detailed explanations.

How we'll pay you.
We'll normally pay the net amount we owe you. We arrive at this amount by deducting the Discount Rate or Merchant Sevice Fee on each transaction, prior to settlement, rather than asking for payment at the end of the month. We may also offset any adjustments to your account, such as credits, refunds or Chargebacks.

When does American Express pay my business?
If you bank with Westpac, NAB, CBA or ANZ and submit your transactions by 7pm (AEST/AEDT), you may be eligible to receive your money in your account early the next business day.

Please be aware, if your establishment is in one of the following industries you will not be eligible for next day pay:

  • Airlines, Cruise and Ferry companies
  • Auction Houses
  • Escort/Introduction/Detective Agencies
  • Financial Service providers
  • Nightclubs
  • Taxis and Limousine Services
  • Telecommunication providers
  • Travel Agencies
  • Merchants using unattended terminals.

When will you need to pay us?
There may be times when your account is in debit. Reasons for this may include refunds you made to Cardmembers, outstanding fees, or a Chargeback debited to your account after a Cardmember dispute.

How to settle any money you owe us.
If you submit transactions to American Express, we'll deduct what you owe us from the next payment(s) we make to your business. If we consider those payments are not sufficient to clear the outstanding amount, we'll contact you to make other arrangements.

Download our  Guide to Payments and Reconciliation  to receive further guidance on how our payment system works, or view our Card Acceptance Terms and Conditions.

Recurring billing will enable you to submit large volumes of Card transactions, quickly and cost-effectively. It also improves the speed in which you are paid, with rejection details being provided within 2-3 hours. Recurring billing ensures higher approval rates and lower administrative overheads through Card updates and relaxed authorisation rules.

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