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Your American Express transactions occur in one of three ways:

  • Card transaction with the Cardmember present.
  • Card transaction with the Cardmember not present (such as via mail, telephone, or the internet).
  • 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 POS terminal or acceptance product. Or call our Merchant Services Hotline on 1800-235-6755 (Monday – Friday, 9am to 6pm). 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. Click here to find out how to check Card faces. 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 (if it is enabled on your POS
    terminal) and/or take an imprint of the Card to validate its presence.
  • Your POS terminal will automatically call American Express and respond with an authorisation code, a 'decline' or a 'referral' message.
  • If the transaction is declined, refuse the transaction.
  • If you receive a 'referral' or 'Call Issuer' message, please call our 24-Hour Authorisations Hotline on
    1800-737-8188.
  • 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 POS terminal.
  • Follow the prompts on the terminal display to process the transaction.
  • If the transaction is approved, return the Card and provide the customer with a copy of the transaction
    receipt.
  • If the chip transaction fails, follow the magnetic strip Cards procedure detailed above.
  • If the chip transaction is declined, refuse the transaction.
  • If you receive a ‘referral’ or ‘Call Issuer’ message please call our 24-Hour Authorisations Hotline on
    1800-737-8188.

    PIN or Signature.
  • PIN or Signature allows your transaction to be authorised using an alternate identification method.
  • Ask your customer if they would like to use a PIN or sign for the transaction.
  • Follow the magnetic strip instructions, but allow the customer to choose whether they sign or enter their PIN.

Having trouble with your POS terminal?
You may still accept American Express Cards manually if your POS terminal is unavailable. Simply follow these instructions:

    If your terminal is broken or unable to automatically connect to American Express.
  • Call our 24-Hour Authorisations Hotline on 1800-737-8188 to request an authorisation approval code and submit the charge manually. Contact our Merchant Services Hotline on 1800-235-6755 (Monday – Friday, 9am to 6pm) for manual submission of charges.
  • 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 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.

If you handle internet transactions, please ensure that your internet checkout is secure, with industry-standard encryption, by registering your business into the American Express SafeKeySM (AESK) Program. This provides greater security for charges made by internet orders through the use of an authentication method. To register for SafeKeySM, please call our Merchant Services Hotline on 1800-235-6755 (Monday – Friday, 9am to 6pm). Request an authorisation approval code. Follow your 'Cardmember not present' process to request an authorisation. If this process is unavailable,then contact our 24-Hour Authorisations Hotline on 1800-737-8188.

3.How to handle American Express Travellers Cheques.

It’s easy to accept our Travellers Cheques. You don’t need to sign a contract, nor 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.

If you would like to request a free Travellers Cheques Merchant code call us on 1800-823-2090 or
+612-8223-9171 (Monday – Friday, 9am to 7pm).

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 our Online Services.
  • By phone: call our specialist team on 1800-823-2090 or +612-8223-9171 (Monday – Friday, 9am to 7pm).

Need help accepting our Cards?
Call American Express on 1800-235-6755 (Monday – Friday, 9am to 6pm) for further assistance.

Travellers Cheques, want to know more?
Call American Express Travellers Cheques on 1800-823-2090 or +612-8223-9171 (Monday – Friday, 9am to 7pm) for specific Travellers Cheques enquiries.

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