American Express has announced the expansion of OptBlue, a new merchant acquiring program that extends U.S. small merchant coverage. There are now 10 participating acquirers in OptBlue, five of which are among the top 10 in the United States. New to the program are: First Data, EVO, Merchant e-Solutions and First American Payments Systems. The program was announced at American Express’ Financial Community meeting earlier this year with Vantiv, Global Payments, Heartland Payment Systems, Worldpay, Transfirst and JetPay as the first participants. Acquirers will provide a full one-stop servicing solution for American Express Card® acceptance to eligible U.S. small merchants.

With OptBlue, participants have the flexibility to provide U.S. small merchants the benefit of a single statement, one settlement process, and one contact for all the major card brands. Participants determine merchant pricing in addition to providing payment processing and servicing. OptBlue will help expand American Express’ U.S. small merchant coverage, providing consumers more payment options at local businesses.

 “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 program will help deliver a smart and easy solution for U.S. small merchants to enjoy the benefits of American Express Card acceptance while making it convenient for consumers to Shop Small® year round.”

 “Being among the first to offer OptBlue provides the full spectrum of card options to the small merchants and sales channels we serve,” said Himanshu Patel, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, First Data. “OptBlue simplifies the merchant card acceptance experience by providing an all-in-one solution where small merchants benefit from the ease and convenience of having a single source for all of their servicing, processing and contact needs for all major card brands. It’s an exciting addition to the suite of solutions First Data offers small merchants.”

With OptBlue, American Express continues to receive the same transactional information it does today, allowing OptBlue merchants to benefit from the valuable tools, services and marketing that the Company delivers to small merchants. OptBlue is limited to eligible U.S. small merchants that have a projected American Express charge volume of less than $1 million per year and is one of many initiatives aimed at helping U.S. small merchants grow their business by connecting them with high spending, loyal Card Members.

Today, American Express acquires merchants through a number of channels: a proprietary sales force and inbound channel in which merchants contract directly with American Express; External Sales Agents who solicit merchants on behalf of American Express; the OnePoint® program in which third-parties handle merchant solicitation, payment processing and account servicing; and the OptBlue program.