How to accept payments online

How to accept payments online

Boosted sales and higher-spending digital customers – there are many benefits to accepting card payments on your e-commerce site. Discover how to accept American Express and how online payments work.


How to accept online payments



There are three main elements to consider when setting up card payment acceptance online: a merchant account, a payment gateway and a payment processor.


American Express provides a Merchant Account as well as payment processing, which helps to keep things simple. Setting up a Merchant Account is one of the first steps towards
accepting online payments.


In a nutshell, here’s how to accept Credit Card payments online with American Express:

merchant fees



1. Set up a payment gateway if you don’t have one
already. There are many options out there, so be sure to research and find the
best one for both your business and your customers’ needs. American Express
offers a secure payment gateway for digital payments.


2. Sign up as an American Express-accepting merchant and get an American Express Merchant ID  – Call 0800 339 911 (Monday to Friday, 8:00 to 18:00), or have us call you, to find out more and start accepting American Express.


3. Share your American Express Merchant ID with your payment gateway provider.


4. Your payment gateway provider will then integrate your Merchant Account with its services, allowing you to accept American Express® Card payments online.


How do online payments work?



From a customer ‘adding to cart’ to your Account being credited, there are a few steps involved in the online payment process as different parties work together:


1. A customer purchases something on

your e-commerce site, paying with their American Express Card by submitting their payment information and verifying their identity through SafeKey

2. This information is
sent to your payment gateway

3.  Your payment gateway encrypts

and sends the customer’s payment information to the payment processor (that’s us at American Express) to authorise

4.  American Express will
either accept or decline the payment, notifying your customer of the outcome via
the payment gateway



These steps happen in a matter of seconds. Then the process moves on to payment settling:


5. If the payment is approved, American Express debits the customer’s account 

6. American Express credits your (the merchant’s) Account for the transaction amount minus your agreed processing rate; and according to the payment terms, this amount is then paid directly into the bank account provided

Start accepting American Express Card payments


Keen to start accepting American Express on your e-commerce site? Call us on 0800 339 911 (Monday to Friday, 8:00 to 18:00) or request a call back from one of our Sales Representatives. 




Things to remember when taking online payments



According to the Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is required for all online payments. All American Express Merchant IDs are set up with SafeKey, our SCA-compliant 3D Secure fraud and data protection


But there are other security measures you need to have in place for e-commerce payment acceptance, protecting both you and your customers. Discover the basics on our merchant payment security page.


While security and data protection may be managed by your payment gateway provider, it’s ultimately your responsibility (as the merchant) to pick a provider that follows all legal guidance. 


Disputes & fraud

Unfortunately, disputes and online payment fraud aren’t always preventable, but there are steps you can take to help reduce their likelihood of occurring, and to help you out if they do. Get advice here.


We’re here to help. Read our FAQs or contact us if you have any questions.


merchant fees


Already accept American Express? Set up an American Express Online Merchant Account here. And download the American Express Merchant App to access your payment information on the go. 





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