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Q. American Express? Do my customers carry it?
A. American Express is increasingly becoming a popular Card with consumers, small businesses and corporations. With a strong loyalty program, and a high quality customer base, American Express Cardmembers are high spenders, average spend is 129% higher than that of Non American Express Card holders in Hong Kong1. When you put this together with our strong Corporate Card presence and our traditional Consumer Cards, it means there’s a more diverse and larger range of people who carry our Cards.

Q. My competitors don’t accept it. Why should I?
A. American Express® Cardmembers have been proven to have higher transaction values and spend 129% more than average spend of Non-American Express cardholders. 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 from the rest.

Q. How quickly am I paid for my American Express transactions?
A. This will vary, with some Merchants receiving in two business days payments. However, please note this is dependent on your agreed payment plan.

Q. Why do you pay net? Other Card issuers don’t.
A. Net payments means we simply pay for the American Express charges, less the amount of the Merchant fee. We find this is a simpler & easier way of doing business which means we are not regularly deducting fees from your bank account. We provide online or paper-based reporting which makes reconciliation and reporting easy for your business.

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 (POP) 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 programs. If you want to know more, please contact us on 2277 2277 (Monday to Friday, 9:00am-6:30pm) (except public holidays).

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 981 (Hong Kong 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 your statement quickly and securely, whenever you need to. For more information, please contact us on 2277 2277 (Monday to Friday, 9:00am-6:30pm) (except public holidays).

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 will automatically be switched to paperless statements. Saving you $50 (HKD) per statement (the amount we charge for issuing your paper one). The benefits are that you can view your statement quickly and securely, whenever you need to and is more environmentally friendly.

Q. What are the minimum technical requirements for using Online Merchant Services?
A. You may use either an IBM compatible or Apple Macintosh ® personal computer that can run Microsoft® Internet Explorer 5.01, IE 6.0.29 or higher. We recommend using a 28.8kbps or higher modem.

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 to the same account.

Q. How far back does my online statement go?
A. Your current statement shows you up to 35 days’ worth of activity. Plus your last 13 months’ activity is also available, if you require it. You also have the option to print and file your statements.

Q. Can I export my financial data for further analysis?
A. Yes, you can export your statement details into spreadsheet applications like Microsoft® Excel. For more details, please contact us on 2277 2277 (Monday to Friday, 9:00am-6:30pm) (except public holidays).

Q. Can I view individual transactions online?
A. Yes. You can easily view amount, date range, or Card number-specific transactions.


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. 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 information 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.

Anytime that an 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 that 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 that the Card has not expired, and has not 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. 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® Cardmembers’ information must comply. This policy has been strengthened to reflect current business conditions, provides additional requirements to help safeguard Cardmembers’ information and conforms 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 Cardmembers’ information. Its requirements apply to all equipment, systems and networks on which American Express Cardmembers’ 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 Cardmembers’ information?
A. Yes, the policy still applies to any of your equipment, systems, and networks that transmit or process Cardmembers’ 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, at 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

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 authorized security vendor to submit this information to Trustwave (TW). TW has been contracted and authorized 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 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.
· For enquiry, please contact our Merchant Services Hotline on 2277 2277 (Monday to Friday, 9:00am – 6:30pm) (except public holidays).

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
· Charities
· Door to Door Sales
· Financial Services
· Internet Electronic Services
· Night Clubs
· Online Pharmacies
· Payment Service Providers (Aggregators)
· Personal Services
· Telecommunications (Cellular Products/Services, Premium Rate Telephone Services and Telecommunications Calling Cards)

Q. What is Apple Pay?
A. Apple Pay gives your customers an easy, secure, and private way to pay in stores using iPhone or Apple Watch and within apps using iPhone or iPad.

Q. How do I accept Apple Pay payments?
A. To accept Apple Pay in your store, you just need to have an American Express contactless-enabled terminal and follow the steps below:
Step 1: Enter the transaction amount into the terminal.
Step 2: The transaction amount will display on the Contactless Reader. The reader light will blink or sound an audio alert.
Step 3: Ask the Cardmember to verify the amount on the Reader.
Step 4: Ask the Cardmember to hold the device near the Reader and either perform the Touch ID authentication or enter their device’s Passcode. For Apple Watch, ask the Cardmember to double-click the side button and hold the display of the Apple Watch up to the Reader.
Step 5: The Cardmember will receive a signal from the iPhone or Apple Watch when the transaction has been approved. Give a copy of the receipt to the Cardmember. No signature is required.
Contact your terminal provider if you have any questions about your current capability or if you would like to set up a contactless terminal capability.

Q. How does Apple Pay work?
A. The Cardmember adds their American Express® Card to Apple Wallet. To pay with iPhone they place their finger on Touch ID and hold their iPhone up to the contactless terminal. To pay with Apple Watch they double-click the side button then hold the display up to the terminal. A subtle vibration and beep, with “Done” on the display will confirm the payment information has been sent. PIN is not required regardless of transaction amount.

Q. What does this mean for Merchants?
A. · Faster, more convenient payments
· Fraud protection and security
· One flat rate for all American Express transactions, with no additional fees
· More choice and flexibility for your customers.

Q. Which American Express Cards can be processed using Apple Pay?
A. An eligible Card is a basic or supplementary American Express Card issued by American Express International, Inc. ("American Express") in Hong Kong. Use of Apple Pay is not available to holders of American Express Corporate Card, American Express Gold Corporate Card, American Express Cathay Pacific Corporate Card, American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Corporate Card, American Express Corporate Meeting Card, American Express Corporate Purchasing Card, American Express Business Travel Account and all American Express Cards issued outside of Hong Kong.
If your customers have a valid American Express Card issued by a licensed third-party financial institution, please ask the customer to check with the issuer if the Card is eligible by calling the number on the back of the Card.

Q. Will there be any additional charges to process Apple Pay transactions?
A. No, there are no additional fees, just your one flat Merchant rate for all American Express transactions.

Q. What is the spending limit (or cap) when using Apple Pay?
A. American Express with Apple Pay allows customers to make easy and secure contactless payments at any amount, as every payment is authorized by the Cardmember, American Express and the merchant.

Q. Will Apple Pay transactions be processed the same way as a Card transaction?
A. Yes, Apple Pay transactions will process like any other contactless American Express transaction you accept today. You will need to check with your terminal provider to determine if you can process Contactless transactions.

Q. What should I do if I encounter a problem processing the transaction?
A. If you have been set up with contactless processing capability and you are experiencing problems with processing transactions, please contact your terminal provider.

Q. How secure is an American Express with Apple Pay transaction?
A. Security and privacy is at the core of American Express with Apple Pay. When Cardmembers add a credit or debit card to Apple Pay, the actual Card numbers are not stored on the device or on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on the device. Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique dynamic security key, instead of using the security code from the back of the Card. And on iPhone and iPad every payment requires Touch ID or a passcode, and Apple Watch must be unlocked.

Q. What about fraud liability on Apple Pay transactions?
A. Within stores and apps, Apple Pay transactions are treated in the same way as your current contactless credit and debit transactions. The same liability rules apply to Apple Pay transactions.

Q. What about fraud liability on Apple Pay transactions?
A. Within stores and apps, Apple Pay transactions are treated in the same way as your current contactless credit and debit transactions. The same liability rules apply to Apple Pay transactions.

Q. Are these transactions treated as Card present or Card Not Present?
A. For Apple Pay contactless payments (e.g. in-store), the transaction is treated as Card Present. For Apple Pay payments within apps (those that come directly through the participating Merchant’s mobile app), the transaction is treated as Card Not Present but you will not be liable for any fraud that occurs.

Q. Does this new product announcement mean any changes to my Merchant fee rate?
A. No there are no changes to your Merchant fee rate; it will continue to be one flat rate for all American Express transactions, no additional fees.

Q. Are there any changes to my Merchant agreement?
A. No there are no changes to your Merchant agreement. To view the Merchant terms and conditions click here.

Q. How do I process returns with Apple Pay?
A. Applicable to merchants with auto refund function only: use the Device Account Number to find the purchase and process the return, just like you would with a traditional American Express Card payment. To see the last four or five digits of the Device Account Number, ask the customer to go to the Wallet app, tap the card, and tap on the lower-right corner of the display.
You can also have the customer hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near the reader, select the Card they used to make the original payment, and authorize the return with Touch ID or passcode.
When not applicable, please refer to the standard manual refund procedures.

Q. Which devices can customers use to make Apple Pay purchases?
A. Customers will be able to make Apple Pay purchases using their iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE running on iOS 9.0 or above, or an Apple Watch that is paired with an iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus or iPhone SE. iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4 and iPad Pro will be enabled for payments within apps.
Please visit the Apple website for the full list of eligible devices.

Q. How do I set-up Apple Pay for in-app purchases?
A. Contact your e-commerce gateway or Payment Service Provider or visit the Apple website for more information.

Q. Want more information about Apple Pay?
A. Visit the Apple website for more information.

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1.Card Usage and Attitude Survey 2009,conducted by Research International in July 2009 in Hong Kong.