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Do Supermarkets Take American Express?

By Ferdi Vol
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Many people do not prefer cash payment. And in some specific scenarios like online shopping, a credit card might be your only option. The card providers keep offering lucrative deals throughout the year, so it's also a temptation. Among major credit card providers, American Express lags behind its rivals. Many supermarkets often reject American Express cards.

Almost all the major Supermarkets do take American Express cards except for a few. This stalemate is rapidly changing and the situation is much better now than it used to be. You can pay with your American Express cards at many supermarkets without any hassle.

American Express was in a worse position than it is now. Many supermarkets used to refuse their cards. Of course, they had valid reasons. In this article, I will talk about which supermarkets accept Amex cards, which still don't, and how this situation has developed.

Can You Pay with American Express Cards at Supermarkets?

You can pay at many supermarkets using American Express cards. American Express offers various types of cards like credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, grocery cards, etc. You can use any of them as long as the shop supports American Express. American Express offers some unique deals to its clients. You can achieve points by shopping which you can redeem later.

There was a time when many major retailers didn't accept American Express. This was a very inconvenient time for Amex clients as well as American Express itself. Despite having a credit card, customers would have to use alternative payment methods like cash, personal check, etc. This negated the purpose of having a credit card.

Hopefully, this situation is now changing as every day more and more supermarkets are becoming lenient toward American Express. There are a few exceptions but you have the option to use your Amex debit card to withdraw cash from nearby booths and pay.

Major Supermarkets That Accept American Express Cards

To do your daily grocery shopping more conveniently, knowing which major supermarkets take American Express cards would be very much helpful. Let's take a look at some major supermarkets across the US that accept American Express cards:

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's is one of the oldest grocery stores in the US, since 1967. They are known for unique items and attractive pricing. 

They operate 503 stores across the USA. Trader Joe’s accept all forms of payment like credit cards, debit cards, cash, personal checks, etc. They are friendly with American Express cards and have been accepting them since 2006.

Publix

Among many other superstores, Publix has varieties of payment options. They accept a wide range of payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, cash, personal checks, apple pay, Google pay, etc.

They have a contactless payment option by their Publix app. Publix also accepts all types of American Express cards.

Aldi

Aldi is one of the top supermarkets in the US. They accept all forms of payment since 2016. Before that, they didn’t accept credit cards at all.

But now they support all types of credit and debit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc. They also accept app payments.

Hy-Vee

Hy-Vee supermarket chain is all about quality, convenience, and superior customer service. They are one of America's top supermarkets.

They accept a wide range of payment options that includes MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express credit cards in all of their 265 retail stores across the US. You can pay using Hy-Vee gift cards as well.

Kroger

Kroger is the oldest retail store in the United States, since 1883. They never compromise with product quality and customer satisfaction.

They accept MasterCard, Visa, Amex debit and credit cards, personal checks, gift cards, cash as payment. You can also pay using digital wallet services like Google Pay and Apple Pay in some selected Kroger stores.

ShopRite

ShopRite is known for its excellent quality produce and meat section. On top of that, their pricing is very competitive.

And they accept almost all forms of payment. You can pay using cash, personal checks, gift cards. ShopRite also accepts any major debit or credit cards, and that includes American Express too.

H-E-B

The Texan supermarket chain H-E-B is synonymous with a healthy lifestyle, quality, variety, and top-of-the-class customer service.

They accept debit cards, credit cards, personal checks, and cash as payment. But for online orders, they only accept debit and credit cards such as MasterCard, Discover, Visa, and American Express.

Wegmans

Wegmans is one of the oldest supermarket chains in the US. They have 105 stores across the country.

They accept all the credit and debit cards issued by American Express along with Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.

Lidl

Lidl is the latest to shake hands with American Express. They did not accept Amex cards for high interchange fees.

Since 2019, Lidl has started accepting American Express credit and debit cards. So, that’s great news for Amex carrying Lidl shoppers.

Target Corporation

Target Corporation is the eighth largest retailer in the US. They go toe to toe with mammoths like Amazon and Walmart.

So, it is no surprise that they would accept American Express cards. You can pay with Amex cards as well as various others.

Major Supermarkets That Don’t Accept American Express Cards

There are still some big supermarkets that do not accept American Express cards. It may be because of their business policy or any internal issues. Let's take a look at some big names that do not accept Amex cards:

WinCo Foods

Saying that WinCo do not accept American Express credit cards would be a vague statement. It is because they do not accept credit cards at all, be that a Visa card, MasterCard, or whatever. They have adopted this policy to keep expenditure at a minimum for both customers and themselves. WinCo does not want to be burdened with those extra fees.

You can use your American Express debit cards at ATM booths located in every WinCo store. You can withdraw cash and buy what you want.

Costco

You could pay with American Express cards at Costco up until 2016. American Express was their only credit card partner since 1999.

In 2016, Costco parted ways with American Express and collaborated with Citibank and Visa network. One important thing to know that only Visa cards are accepted at Costco. No MasterCard, Discover, or any other cards.

Loblaws

Loblaws also doesn’t accept American Express cards. They only accept Visa and MasterCard. They have the same reason as other supermarkets that do not accept American Express cards.

This is to mitigate extra fees charged by the American Express network which is significantly higher than Visa or MasterCard.

Why Do Some Supermarkets Don’t Accept American Express Cards?

There is a fee called ‘interchange fee’ that applies to all credit cards. It is also known as the 'swipe fee'. Every time a credit card is connected to a POS machine, the card issuer charges a fee to the store. This fee is to ensure the payment procedure from both ends. This fee is also one of sources that credit card companies make money from.

American Express used to charge between 2.5 to 3.5 percent of each transaction as swipe fees from merchants. Whereas its competitors like Visa, MasterCard, etc. charge merchants around 1.5 to 2.5 percent. American Express charges its merchants almost double. That's why many merchants opt-out of American Express.

To be fair to American Express, they only make money from these types of fees, unlike its rivals. Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, etc. make a good chunk of money from high-interest rates and various other fees from cardholders. Whereas American Express only makes money from swipe fees from merchants and annual fees from clients.

This unique business model is because of the type of card they offer. American Express credit cards are not like traditional credit cards. They call it the 'charge card'. This card is issued by American Express themselves rather than other cards that are issued by financial institutes like banks. Customers pay every month what they spend without any interest.

As they don’t charge their customers with any interest, American Express has to charge high interchange fees to compensate. This is the reason why many retailers do not accept American Express cards.

Alternatives to American Express Cards

There are a few alternatives to American Express cards and all of them are pretty familiar. Let's have a look at what they have to offer:

1. Visa

Visa is the most popular electronic fund transfer network in the world. As of February 2021, they have a market share of 52.8%; more than seven times that of American Express.

This is also almost twice its nearest competitor, MasterCard. Their swipe fee is 1.51% on average which is pretty low.

2. MasterCard

After the Visa network, MasterCard is the second most used network. They have a market share of 31.6%.

Their issues various types of cards and fairly popular their low swipe fees although it's slightly higher than Visa cards. The MasterCard swipe fee is 1.58%.

3. Discover

Discover is the least popular among the three. However, their cards are still a handy alternative to American Express cards.

Their interchange fee is between 1.56 to 2.3%. Discover’s market share is also the lowest of the three, only 8.1%.

Being an American Express loyalist used to be pretty painful. Being rejected to pay after shopping is embarrassing. Amex fans often had to face that embarrassment. As time went on, American Express authorities and major retailers have come on the same page. Now, consumers can choose their favorite Amex card without any worries.

In this article, I have answered one of the most asked questions by credit card holders, “Do Supermarkets Take American Express?”. I also mentioned all the major supermarkets that accept American Express cards and the ones that still don't. Furthermore, I explored possible alternatives to American Express.

I hope I was able to answer all your queries regarding American Express cards.

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The Grocery Store Academy is a blog about everything that has to do with grocery stores. This is your #1 spot to find the right information for your needs.
About the Author
Ferdi Vol has worked several years in a grocery store and has a passion for good food. He's happy to share his passion with you!
About Ferdi Vol
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