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[Biz Talk] Amex or not?


#1

Hi all. I currently accept Visa, Mastercard, and Amex. I’m thinking
of dropping Amex to reduce my fees and simplify my bookkeeping. It’s
not a giant total in any case, but I’m wondering if I might be
unwittingly shooting myself in the foot. I’m guessing that anyone
with Amex also has at least one of the others, so I probably
wouldn’t lose any sales as a result. Am I missing something? Thanks!

Allan Mason
www.silvermason.com


#2

Brick and mortar store, dropped Amex a long time ago when they tried
to do a chargeback for something that was absolutely not right.
Casting a customers designs, customer did not discuss any problem,
sent back gold castings with no explaination and just went to
chargeback. She would not answer her phone, would not return my
calls. I provided documentation as to a history of work delivered
over two year period without problem. Ruled in her favor, I dropped
Amex and have never not made a sale over the ten or more years since
that happened. When I tell a customer I do not take Amex. the
customer usually replies that a lot of businesses don’t take Amex.

Richard Hart


#3

Allan,

Much as I hate working with AMEX as a retailer (higher fees, snootier
attitudes when there’s a problem, and absolutely no respect for the
vendors), most of my largest sales are paid for with Amex. I think
there are people who use it as some status thing (particularly those
platinum cards), some use it because basic Amex has to be paid off in
full every month, and some just like it because they ARE much more
consumer friendly. I think the extra money paid in their higher fees
is well worth the aggravation. My advice would be to not drop it.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
www.spirerjewelers.com


#4

I currently accept Visa, Mastercard, and Amex. I’m thinking of
dropping Amex to reduce my fees and simplify my bookkeeping…Am I
missing something? Thanks!

Allan - I’ve gone back and forth on the AMEX thing. Popular thinking
is that folks spend more freely with AMEX than with Visa/MC. I’d keep
it, raise your prices a tiny bit, and go on. It might look more
professional to take AMEX along with Visa/MC.

The bit about the bookkeeping nuisance is familiar. For each day at
a show, to end the day, you need to add the cash, checks, Visa/MC,
AMEX, and Discover card. To balance your bank account, you deal with
different deposit days, and the differing discounts. I did get AMEX
to post the whole amount each time, and do a monthly discount, and
that helps a bit.

The only real answer is to hire a bookkeeper. The good news is that
you have sales to worry about.

Judy Hoch


#5
I'm guessing that anyone with Amex also has at least one of the
others, so I probably wouldn't lose any sales as a result. Am I
missing something? 

Hey Allan, I’ve been away from retail for awhile but when I worked
Brentwood I learned you had to take Amex; wealthy customers can be
childish at times.

Dan


#6

I had a retail store for 21 years and made real sure I could get the
customer’s money any way they wanted to give it to me.

Yes, many folks who carry credit cards and have an Amex also have
other cards. Myself included.

But, as a purchaser, I really like the accounting that Amex does for
me on my statements and quarterlies (I have an Amex OPEN business
account), and so does my accountant. I use that Amex for almost
everything I do, as the reward system is better than what other
cards offer by a country mile.

There are two large hardware-type outlets near me. One declines
Amex, so I won’t shop there. I COULD use another card, but I want to
use the Amex and become very irritated at a vendor who declines it.

So maybe that adds another perspective. Why irritate a customer?

Wayne


#7

Allan, I used to take Amex. A pain in the butt, in my opinion. Only
the occasional customer would pay with it and the effective
percentage cost was HUGE. Then the accounting was entirely separate
from Visa and MC, more nuisance. Generally, if someone has an Amex
card, they for sure have one of the other also because Amex is not
universally accepted. Saved those annoying monthly fees for Amex
also.

Nancy Goodenough


#8

Hi Allan,

I dropped Amex and I’m glad I did. I occasionally get a customer who
is slightly disgruntled when I say I don’t accept it, but they always
have another card. The main reason they want to use Amex is that they
get points!

Beth


#9

Daniel’s and other posters are right. AMEX is preferred by a lot of
folks (including me) because of the quality of their customer
service, and the fact that you HAVE to pay it off every month. I
would expect any brick and mortar jeweler to offer it, even knowing
that it costs them more and they are not vendor friendly.

Chris (who takes only PayPal at this point, but spends a lot via
AMEX, just ask RWW or Rio)


#10

I have never accepted AMEX in 30 years and I have had no problems,
most people have other cards and if not they give me a check. They
usually say, well I want my airline miles and I say to them, fine but
I’m not paying for them. They chuckle and give me another card.

Bill Wismar
www.metalbendersgallery.com


#11
I used to accept AmEx and at one time I considered it the best. But
then several years ago after a charge back dispute I received a
letter that in future any consumer request for a charge back would
be honored without input from me. 

But then I don’t know that it is so unusual these days. We just were
charged back by our current processor for a sale that took place in
March with no notification until it appeared in our bank statement.

Any merchant bank has their hand in your banking account and can take
money at any time with or without your consent. They also increase
their fees without notice by adding new classes of qualifications for
credit cards.

Just for a little backround I and my wife are indeed a small personal
business. And over twenty years have been involved in about five or
six charge backs.

My first involvement with AmEx involved a customer who decided he
didn’t want what he ordered and told AmEx the ring was defective,
which it wasn’t. It ended after a period of perhaps three months when
AmEx notified me that since they hadn’t completed the dispute
procedure within a given time they would buy the piece. I sent them
the ring which, I believe, they auctioned off at an annual auction
for things they acquired in this way.

Those days are long gone.
KPK


#12

I do only retail sales at this point, twenty some years on. When I
tell customers I do not accept AmEx they bring out a Visa or
Mastercard. I have no missed one sale as a result of not accepting
AmEx. Also see my previous post on AmEx.

KPK


#13
I would expect any brick and mortar jeweler to offer it, even
knowing that it costs them more and they are not vendor friendly. 

That’s like saying I expect any vendor to pay for me to do business
with them. It is at the discretion of the vendor, and it is certainly
not a right asa consumer. Credit card companies have rights that
governments are not allowed to have. You can only have that
expectation if you have not been screwed with by AMEX. Is my
animosity showing?

Richard Hart


#14

I’d say this comes down to competition really.

OK, so you can’t point to a single sale you lost because of not
doing AMEX. But that is really looking at just what is in your face.
What about what you DON’T know? How about what goes on in the mind of
a consumer who prefers AMEX?

So in one instance you successfully convert the sale to a Visa/MC
and saved about 1% of the sale. The guy likes AMEX for reasons
already stated. One day he’s passing your competitor and spots a neat
flamjam in the window. He sees the AMEX sticker and he buys the thing
(impulse sale) Not that he’s consciously thinking, “Well Joe doesn’t
like AMEX so screw him, I’ll buy this here,” but the seed has been
planted that you are not fulfilling HIS requirements. He feels
ethically free to sidestep any loyalty you might have built up over
the years. You have given him a reason to bolt.

For one percent. Whoop dedoo.

You think, “OK, so I don’t sell that that kind flamjam anyway so who
cares?” But he wasn’t shopping for a particular thing, he wasn’t
shopping at all. And now he has tucked away his present for their
anniversary in a month. Will he come in to YOUR shop and look for a
second present? I doubt it.

By not fostering loyalty you have made it easier for your customers
not to shop you. Make no mistake, an AMEX is a status symbol. By not
taking it you are also not recognizing his hard won status, you are
pissing him off.

How many times does this happen and you just don’t know? You might
think, “sales are holding steady so what’s the problem?” That kind
of thinking may have cost you a 10% or greater gain for the year. To
survive and prosper you must look at the long term. No customer
service? No customers. An exaggeration for sure but I hope you see
the point.


#15

Second post about this…went out to eat last night, asked if they
honored Amex. They said “No, sorry.”

I said “Good-bye, sorry.”

I wonder how many of you have done the math of this “more expensive
card” and followed it all the way through your tax return?

Silliness. You’re in the customer satisfaction business, and most
high end purchases are done with Amex, not Visa/MC.

Wayne


#16
I do only retail sales at this point, twenty some years on. When I
tell customers I do not accept AmEx they bring out a Visa or
Mastercard. I have no missed one sale as a result of not accepting
AmEx. Also see my previous post on AmEx. 

Have you counted missing sales to those who don’t come back again?

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#17

I’ll balance my suggestion to go ahead and cancel your Amex account
with an “It depends.”

If you have a high income clientele, yes, keep taking Amex. If not,
drop it.

Nancy Goodenough


#18

I too have found AMEX a pain to deal with, expensive and all that,
and also that we run fewer transactions compared with VISA and M/C.
But the dollar amounts for individual AMEX charges far exceeds that
for other cards.

If my customers want to use it, especially the ones that spend big,
I’m going to keep on taking it. Just part of good customer service,
imho. My job is to make their jewelry purchasing experience better,
not mine.

Dave


#19
You're in the customer satisfaction business, and most high end
purchases are done with Amex, not Visa/MC. 

Wayne I don’t know how you can extrapolate from your personal
experience to make the general statement

high end purchases are done with Amex, not Visa/MC.

I make high end gold jewelry and sell retail and non of my work has
been purchased with AmEx.

went out to eat last night, asked if they honored Amex. They said
"No, sorry." I said "Good-bye, sorry." 

Is your choice of food really based on whether they accept AmEX?

KPK


#20

Have you counted missing sales to those who don’t come back again?

A number of posters have brought this up. The problem, for those of
you who have stopped taking (or never did take) Amex, is that you
have no way of knowing how many sales you might have lost. Neil’s
post on this was incredibly to the point. While you may think you
haven’t lost any sales, you don’t know for sure that a number of
people haven’t taken their business elsewhere after an original
purchase from you, haven’t walked in your store because they see the
Master Card/Visa signs displayed clearly but no Amex sign, haven’t
gone elsewhere because they called and found out you don’t take the
card (we have people call regularly and ask what cards we accept),
etc. You may THINK you’re not losing any sales but you really don’t
KNOW that you’re not. And it is true (yes, there have been studies
done on this) that many high end purchasers use Amex almost
exclusively. So you can say I hate Amex (as a vendor, I dislike them
myself), but you shoot yourself in the foot when you take that to the
next level and refuse to accept the card. You do have to remember
that THEIR customer is the cardholder and they want to take care of
them as best as possible, just as you want to take care of YOUR
customer as best as possible. Frankly, in my book, taking care of my
customers as best as possible, means making the entire transaction go
as smoothly as possible, which means taking any credit card they want
to use. And, since I personally use my Amex Starwoods Points card to
get free hotel rooms in some of the best hotels in the country on a
regular basis, I am always happy to help a customer do the same thing
with their cards that offer points (which, incidentally is not
limited to Amex). Actually, I often encourage them to do it. To me,
it just makes good business sense all around.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
www.spirerjewelers.com