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American Express pays businesses to catch up to Visa and Mastercard

AmericanExpress, Visa and Mastercard credit cards on top of a pile of cash.
Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Images/Getty Images

American Express is paying as much as $450,000 to businesses to entice them to take its cards, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Between the lines: "Amex has long lagged behind Visa and Mastercard in the race for American businesses," as it opted for well-heeled customers rather than mass-market appeal, the story notes.

  • That strategy is changing as Amex looks to make good on a promise to investors to catch up to its competitors — which have pulled in big spenders with generous rewards cards — by the end of this year.
  • As of 2018, "Visa and Mastercard were accepted in some 1.3 million more U.S. locations than Amex, which had 10.3 million locations," according to the research from the Nilson Report cited by WSJ.

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