If you ever wonder why so many businesses don't take American Express? It's because they charge an extra 1 to 1.5% over Visa, MC, and Discover.
I noticed there are a lot more businesses on Hatteras that won't take AMEX, since they are small and independent. I guess that's why AMEX promotes small business Saturday after Black Friday. Trying to court them.
This used to be true, which is why many people still believe this, but its not the case at all anymore. When i started as Merchant Account re-seller, Visa and MC had the cheapest buy rates compared to AMEX and Discover. The cheaper my buy rates, the cheaper I could resell them to my merchants. A few years back, Discover decided to put their fees in line with those of Visa and MC. AMEX followed suit soon after with their "Opt Blue" program. While AMEX may still be slightly more expensive to accept than the other big 3 card brands, the difference is probably closer to 15 to 30 basis points. I always tell my merchants that are worried about the price difference to still accept AMEX, but don't advertise that they do. If someone walks through their door and all they have is an AMEX card, would they really want to lose the sale?
Also, anyone saying they are still paying exorbitantly high AMEX fees are either being taken advantage of by their current merchant account provider, or haven't shopped rates in so long that they probably still are overpaying for AMEX acceptance.