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anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

Posted by davidrt28 (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 2, 14 at 9:40

I have an Amex card with a very good cashback program, so I try to use it for everything. I've made thousands over the years on it. (I've never had a cc debt)

Recently I noticed something odd at Lowes & Walmart. My Amex card returns a "card not read" error. However, I know the card in fine. This morning, for example, I used it to buy gas 15 minutes before trying to use it at walmart. When I pull out a visa card suddenly the reader is working again. The cards are made by CPI and Oberthur, the 2 leaders in credit card manufacturing, so it isn't as though the Amex could have had some odd kind of defect.

I wonder if, because Amex has higher merchant fees, this is a scam to try to make people give up and use their Visa or Mastercard. The 2nd time it happened at Lowes, I insisted she use my Amex. She had to enter the number, and exp. date as would be expected, but oddly, she also insisted on getting a billing zip and phone number from me, AND entered the CVV code! I've never seen a type-in cc purchase procedure require that. Mail order, yes. I've been a nursery when mail orders were being entered manually, and they have to enter zip & phone if they don't have the card present. Usually if a card won't read at a merchant with a retailer account, they just need to enter the # and exp.

I'm going to call my issuer about this, but I cannot believe at this point that this is an isolated incident. It started happening a little over a month ago.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

American Express cards aren't as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard and never have been. It's nothing new.

Like its much smaller cousin Diners Club cards, Amex evolved as a somewhat exclusive card targeted to commerical T+E (travel and entertainment) use. They now have a broader customer base with sponsors like Costco pushing their cards.

You can use Amex with any airline, hotel or car rental agency. When you want to buy something at a store, Visa or Mastercard is a better bet.


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RE: anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

Is your response supposed to be baffling? I've used Amex cards for decades at major retailers like this. Yes, many Mom and Pops only accept Visa & Mastercard - and some places still don't take credit at all. Walmart and Lowes are stores where I shop frequently and have been using Amex just fine until recently. And they still, obviously, officially accept them and have legal agreements requiring them to do so.


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RE: anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

Ok, I called my issuer. This is a known occurence and I'm not at all the first to have noticed it. For whatever reason, they still want to claim to accept all credit cards rather than just flat out say Amex not welcome. According to him, in some cases they have long-term contracts and would be fined for not taking it. But the "card read" errors, really aren't. He said another variation is they ask your for zip and then claim that the zip doesn't match what is on the account!


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RE: anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

Some 'card not read' problems are due to a card with a weak or dirty mag strip or a reader with the same problem.
JM2C


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RE: anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

Is your question supposed to be baffling?

If you've had an Amex card for decades as I have too, have you not similarly experienced it being declined hundreds of times as I have?

It's not just Mom and Pop shops that don't accept it in the US, there are lots of places that don't. Those who travel much have also experienced that Amex is pretty useless in Europe - other than with airlines and top tier hotels.

Cash back or premium redemption plans are pretty competitive among different cards. My Visa has a lot of other benefits, I use it much more.


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RE: anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

I am self employed and I do not accept AMEX for the reasons stated above. All the other cards, Visa, MC, Discover are under the same merchant umbrella, so the fees are taken out from that. But AMEX wants their own fee schedules, and in today's economy, I'm not paying it.

FYI, those cash back and rewards cards are funded by the merchants. We pay that 1.5% extra in the transaction fee so the card issuer can give you the reward. That only drives up the costs of the goods.


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RE: anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

"Is your question supposed to be baffling?"
Apparently it was. Maybe this could be adopted by ETS in a standardized test question: "You've always used a certain brand of card at a certain merchant. Suddenly this card stops working at the checkout terminal, even though the card's magnetic strip is fine, and even though the merchant still says they accept that card, and in fact can charge the card if entered manually. This is a __________ occurrence."

a) delightful
b) yellow
c) strange
d) religious

"Those who travel much have also experienced that Amex is pretty useless in Europe - other than with airlines and top tier hotels."
Yes, I've traveled in Europe and know this. In fact, plain old American Visas & Mastercards can raise eyebrows there, since they don't have a chip in them. At some places they will have to manually enter the number and see your passport. I was not, in this case, shopping at Lowes and Walmarts in Europe!

"If you've had an Amex card for decades as I have too, have you not similarly experienced it being declined hundreds of times as I have?"
Nope, if they say they accept Amex, if there's an Amex sticker on the terminal, etc., they've accepted it. Never had trouble with one before.


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RE: anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

"I am self employed and I do not accept AMEX for the reasons stated above"

That's great, I'm happy for you. And I'm sure you don't post an Amex sticker on your door, to bait-and-switch people, then hope that they have another card available to them when it comes time to purchase.


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RE: anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

When you carry a Visa card, there's no need to look for the decals on the windows or doors because they're accepted everywhere. Except when you see a "Cash Only" sign. I probably stopped looking for those little signs 20 years ago or more, it's one less thing to think about.

My Visa card from an American bank has a smart chip in it. The only places abroad it hasn't worked have been some ticket machines for subways or trains. Some, not all.

I was in Canada a few weeks ago and most of the typical places a tourist encounters (hotels, restaurants, bars, stores, attractions) all seemed to have smart card readers. My chip was read everywhere without exception.


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RE: anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

More food for thought on keeping your cards out of the wrong hands....


A link that might be useful:

www.gobankingrates.com/credit-card-rates/5-tried-true-strategies-protecting-credit-card-gas-pump/


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RE: anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

Davidrt28.... No I do not. I don't believe in bait and switch practices.

Maybe that's done where you live, but not here.


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RE: anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

Go easy on the scare-mongering, dreamgarden.

That's not a useful article. Credit card holders normally have no liability for fraudulent use of their card numbers. If you're not sure, check with your card issuer.

If you have the right credit card, it can be used without risk. Card readers that have been compromised by the bad guys present a risk to the bank that issued the card, not to the user.


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RE: anyone had trouble getting an Amex card accepted?

Update on this. For about 2-3 weeks after I posted, Walmart wasn't accepting it. After using it there regularly for over 5 years. Then I guess they decided to come to some agreement on a lowered transaction rate - as Walmart does with all their vendors - and presto, it works again. Or at least it has this weekend and last.


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