American Express vs VISA

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Ascot

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Has anyone had any experience with American Express? I'm thinking of changing over from a VISA Credit to an AMEX for the perks alone and clearing a balance in full is not an issue so I'm not bothered that it's a charge card. How often have every day shops refused to take them?
 
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Greenback

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I've never had an American Express card, but I have noticed that quite a few places do not take them these days. Some places have signs explicitly stating the cards are not accepted.

I might consider is an additional card, but I would be a bit worried if it was only means of paying by card (excepting debit card sof course!)
 

Failed Unit

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I used to have an Amex, it was probably about 1 in 10 shops refuse them, but that was enough to rip it up. Acceptance when I had it was much lower in Europe. If you get one make sure you always have a plan B
 

richw

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I'm in cornwall and have an amex card, and find more places dont accept them down here than do accept. However when i go to london pretty much everywhere accepts them!
 

Nym

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This would be because of the 7% fixed merchant fee for all AMEX cards, hence why rewards are easyer to come by, less corpratey places tend not to accept them because it costs them about three times as much as handling Visa or MasterCard sales.

One thing you could consider is the TSB Airmiles Card that comes with two cards, one amex and one mastercard, you get double points when using the amex net one because of the additional kickbacks.

Although tbh, when I am back in work I'll be getting a Barclaycard Platinum Simplicity with an insanely low APR and no rewards, since I don't tend to use rewards for anything anyway. And thats Visa, so accepted pretty much everywhere.
 

Greenback

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One thing you could consider is the TSB Airmiles Card that comes with two cards, one amex and one mastercard, you get double points when using the amex net one because of the additional kickbacks.
Yes, that's what I would do, have a backup plan at hand!
 

Badger

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My experience with the two mainly involves "Do you take Amex?" "What?" "American Express" "Is that visa?" "Ok have my visa."

How often? Pretty much everywhere I shop bar Morrisons.
 

Ascot

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I'll probably keep the Visa Credit going then as that seems to be accepted 99% of places. It looks like I'll get the card for travel booking & all the freebies. What's the redemptions like on their rewards scheme, any good stories?
 

Mr Spock

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I have a Virgin Atlantic AMEX credit card and only use it in supermarkets and use a debit card (or cash) other times.
 

Mvann

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This would be because of the 7% fixed merchant fee for all AMEX cards, hence why rewards are easyer to come by, less corpratey places tend not to accept them because it costs them about three times as much as handling Visa or MasterCard sales.

One thing you could consider is the TSB Airmiles Card that comes with two cards, one amex and one mastercard, you get double points when using the amex net one because of the additional kickbacks.

Although tbh, when I am back in work I'll be getting a Barclaycard Platinum Simplicity with an insanely low APR and no rewards, since I don't tend to use rewards for anything anyway. And thats Visa, so accepted pretty much everywhere.
Amex is expensive for retailers as Amex take a commission plus the charge the credit card supplier charges a fee. Also Amex takes longer to get into the bank account. Amex and diners club take between 5 and 7 days where as visa, MasterCard and debit cards take 2days. For customers, my Amex apr is cheaper than my Lloyds TSB duo cards.
 

snail

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I used to have an Amex, it was probably about 1 in 10 shops refuse them, but that was enough to rip it up. Acceptance when I had it was much lower in Europe. If you get one make sure you always have a plan B
It is frustrating but then I think about the £83 cashback I got from my fee-free Platinum credit card last year. :) (One of the reasons they have such a high merchant fee). It would have been less than a quarter of that with my backup Mastercard.

Using the glass half full view, a lot more places accept AMEX now than used to including all the major supermarkets, petrol stations and rail ticket outlets which are the bulk of my spending.
 

WestCoast

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One thing you could consider is the TSB Airmiles Card that comes with two cards, one amex and one mastercard, you get double points when using the amex net one because of the additional kickbacks.
Anyone wanting Avios/BA miles at the moment should quickly get the Bmi AMEX and Visa bundle. You can get 20,000 miles after a £250 spend which can be converted to Avios 1:1 from July. Much better than the current credit card deal from Avios themselves.
 

Ascot

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I've gone for the Amex Plat in the end. Even if I don't spend on it I've justified the £450 charge through the perks & personal use of them.


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DaveNewcastle

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I used Amex for many years ('sold' to me by my Bank, Lloyds), but it became increasingly and frustratingly difficult when the occasional refusal undermined my confidence.
Amex is expensive for retailers as Amex take a commission plus the charge the credit card supplier charges a fee. Also Amex takes longer to get into the bank account. Amex and diners club take between 5 and 7 days where as visa, MasterCard and debit cards take 2days. For customers, my Amex apr is cheaper than my Lloyds TSB duo cards.
I agrre with that analysis, with one exception. My Amex account could sometimes take over a month to record an incured transaction !
 
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American Express sounds great when it's on the tellybox advertisements. The reality is that fewer and fewer establishments are taking it because of their high transaction fees.
Stick with Visa.
 

Ascot

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I was surprised to see certain fast food outlets accepted them. EAT is one of them along with Mc Donald's.


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Mvann

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It would be interesting to know which preserved railways accept AMEX. Nene valley railway do at the stations, but the on line booking system doesnt.
 

Butts

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I used to have an American Express Credit Card (not charge card) it was handy in the USA 15 years ago.

Is Diners Club still going that was even rarer than AMEX :p
 

Ascot

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Well the card has finally come through today and I must say I'm already impressed. When I rang to activate the card they gladly arranged a meal in London on Friday night that I had to do! Now to book a weekend return to Europe to try the lounge perks. :lol:

If anyone is looking to get one send me a PM and I'll refer you as we both get bonus points.
 

Ascot

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Is it still a minimum £50k household income for theme ones?
£40k for Platinum + the usual good credit etc... The £450 fee gets charged onto the account so I've just set up a Direct Debit to my bank and that should come out every month.
 

richw

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£40k for Platinum + the usual good credit etc... The £450 fee gets charged onto the account so I've just set up a Direct Debit to my bank and that should come out every month.
Is it not 30k? There is no way I'd have one if it was 40k.
Im on the verge of cancelling mine, batclaycard is offering a far better deal to me now.

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Ascot

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Is it not 30k? There is no way I'd have one if it was 40k.
Im on the verge of cancelling mine, batclaycard is offering a far better deal to me now.

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This is snipped from their website. It's based on combined income and I don't know if it has gone up from recent years or months.

Platinum is £40k
Gold is £20k
Platinum Cashback is £20k
BA & BA Premium is £30k
Nectar is £30k
Basic is £20k
 

jon0844

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I hated taking AMEX when I had a merchant account (needed to because of the types of customer I had) and when I had an AMEX I had various problems, including in the USA. In fact, when I had problems in a store in Las Vegas, I was told that most Americans hate American Express - and suggested MasterCard to me.

I've now got my Visa debit card and a credit card I rarely use, plus I also got a Virgin card that is Mastercard - but, again, don't use (only got it for a balance transfer).

Nevertheless, if you can get a card that has more benefits than it costs and use it only for a specific purpose (e.g. paying for petrol and other large costs, then paying it off immediately) then I suppose it's fine to have - but not for day to day use.
 

Glenmutchkin

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Anybody planning to advance book Indian rail tickets from outside India would do well to arm themselves with an Amex card. It is the only non-Indian card accepted by the irctc booking site.

There is an alternative agency called Cleartrip who can book some trains (but not all) and they will accept Mastercard & Visa.
 
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