American Express Merchant Settlement and Surcharge information

If your business accepts American Express, you may have recently received a Notice of a class action settlement. Learn more about the settlement and applicable surcharge options on the official court authorized web site.

american express merchant settlement

Click for Official court-authorized settlement website.

CAUTION BEFORE YOU SURCHARGE: 

While all the card brands have recently announced similar benefits, state laws and other regulations often prohibit merchants from surcharging customers. Before implementing a surcharge policy consult with your merchant processor relationship manager.

SETTLEMENT KEY ELEMENTS:

You’re not required to take any action to receive the benefits of the settlement. If the settlement is finally approved, you will be bound by the Court’s Final Judgment and the release explained in the Class Settlement Agreement.

Subject to other terms, members of the settlement class will receive benefits from the modification of American Express card acceptance agreements applicable to United States Merchant Locations, including the following.

a. The American Express NDPs shall remain unchanged and shall continue to prohibit discrimination against the use of American Express-Branded Cards, except as expressly set forth in the Class Settlement Agreement.

b. Any surcharge, whether expressed as a percentage or flat fee, that a merchant imposes on American Express-Branded Credit Card transactions must not be any higher than any surcharge imposed on transactions effected with any other Credit Card, payment card, payment method, products, or services accepted by the merchant, after accounting for any discounts or rebates offered at the point of sale, except for (i) Debit Cards; (ii) cash; (iii) checks; (iv) transfer of funds to merchants via bank wire transfer or via the Automated Clearing House of the Federal Reserve System; and (v) Proprietary Store Cards. The phrase “after accounting for any discounts or rebates at the point of sale” shall mean that to the extent the merchant offers a rebate or discount at the point of sale for the use of any other Credit Card, payment card, payment service or payment method (except for Debit Cards, cash, checks, funds transfers as described above or Proprietary Store Cards), any surcharge, whether expressed as a percentage or flat fee, that the merchant imposes on American Express-Branded Credit Card transactions must not be higher than the net amount of (x) the surcharge imposed on transactions effected using such other Credit Card, payment card, payment service or payment method, offset by (y) such rebate or discount.

c. In addition, no surcharge imposed on an American Express-Branded Credit Card, whether expressed as a percentage or flat fee, may be higher than the lowest of (i) the amount of the American Express Merchant Discount Rate charged to that merchant for American Express acceptance for the specific transaction; and (ii) any surcharge that the merchant is permitted to impose (which may be zero) on transactions effected with any other Credit Card, regardless of whether the merchant actually surcharges transactions effected on such other Credit Card in excess of the permitted amount..

d. The American Express NDPs shall continue to prohibit any discrimination against American Express-Branded Debit Card transactions (including without limitation American Express-Branded Traditional Debit Card transactions) as compared to any Other Payment Network’s Debit Card transactions.