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Republic Payment Systems adds American Express Opt Blue Program

The Woodlands, Texas September 18, 2014 – Consumers with American Express cards are used to getting the brush-off from small businesses. They either sigh with relief when a vendor accepts the card or shrug knowingly when a cashier politely informs them they do not accept American Express cards. With the help of Republic Payment Systems and the expansion of American Express’ OptBlue program, consumers will see more friendly faces when offering their Amex cards for payment.

Republic Payment Systems of The Woodlands is participating in the cardholder’s expanded OptBlue program, which was unveiled in May and is currently only available to a select few merchant services providers in the United States. The OptBlue program offers lower fees and faster remuneration for small businesses, bridging a long-standing gap between American Express and industry credit card leaders Visa and MasterCard.

In the past, American Express has limited its success among businesses with a rigid fee system that was much higher than industry average—3.5 percent for restaurants and 2.89 percent for retail. Visa and MasterCard have historically offered significantly lower rates ranging from 1 percent for debit cards to 2.50 percent for corporate cards, resulting in some businesses simply shying away from accepting American Express cards rather than paying the higher fees.

With the OptBlue program provided by Republic Payment Systems, businesses will now be able to secure a rate that is competitive with Visa and MasterCard. “OptBlue is part of American Express’ ongoing commitment to enhance the U.S. small merchant experience and is an evolution of our acquiring business,” said Ed Jay, executive vice president, merchant services – Americas, American Express.

“The Republic Grille will save more than $5,000 a year in Amex fees with the OptBlue program,” says Terry McBurney, CEO of Republic Payment Systems, a merchant-services provider for a wide variety of restaurants and retail merchants throughout the United States. McBurney also owns The Republic Grille, a popular restaurant which opened to rave reviews in The Woodlands earlier this year and has valuable experience on the business side of the issue. “OptBlue also eliminates any cash flow issues associated with previous Amex programs.”

On top of its fee structure, American Express has traditionally taken three to five days to disburse funds to merchants, well past the 24 hours for Visa and MasterCard deposits. The OptBlue program now reduces that wait to 24 hours, assisting small businesses who need faster access to their American Express funds. According to American Express, OptBlue is aimed at helping U.S. small merchants grow their business by connecting them with high spending, loyal card members.

“This is a significant advantage over the traditional American Express program,” McBurney says. “Republic is seeing a paradigm shift to acceptance of American Express cards, and the driving force is a reduction of merchant fees.”

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