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Shop Small with American Express will be returning in June

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This article has been sponsored by American Express Merchant Services

American Express has confirmed that it is bringing back its ‘Shop Small’ campaign. The campaign will run in late June, with exact dates to be confirmed soon.

‘Shop Small’ is an offer which incentivises you to shop at small independent retailers. In turn, of course, it encourages small independent retailers to accept American Express in order to participate.

The ‘Shop Small’ campaign usually runs twice a year – in December and in June. The upcoming offer will offer you £5 cashback when you spend £15.

American Express Shop Small June 2022

Should your business take part in Shop Small?

We usually focus our ‘Shop Small’ coverage on the consumer cashback benefits of shopping at participating retailers. However, we thought we would briefly cover the benefits of taking part in Shop Small as a merchant for anybody reading who may have their own retail business or knows someone who does.

Any eligible business who signs up to accept American Express payments and takes part in ‘Shop Small’ will benefit from:

  • An attractive cashback offer that is fully funded by Amex at no cost to you
  • Access to Amex’s high-spending Cardmembers (they spend 3x more)
  • Transparent and competitive pricing where you only pay when you receive a transaction.
  • No setup costs or monthly fees
  • Promotion via the Amex Map and Amex App
American Express Shop Small June 2022

Is your business eligible to take part in Shop Small?

To take part in Shop Small as a merchant, American Express has a defined criteria. One of the key requirements in this is that your business must be a traditional “street-side” business that deals with its customers face to face in premises that the business owns or rents. This means that the small business must have at least one physical business location (up to a maximum of 30 locations) within the UK.

Understandably, another requirement is that the business must have signed up to accept American Express and the terminal must have been set up to accept American Express® Cards to be included in Shop Small.  For the full set of requirements, please click this link here.

To take part in Shop Small, business owners need to apply to accept American Express before 25th May using this link here.

How will Shop Small work for consumers?

  • The campaign is now confirmed to run in late June
  • You must register in advance via the ‘Offers’ section of the American Express® app or website. Each Card / Supplementary Card, must be registered separately. Registration is not yet open.
  • You will be restricted to £25 cashback per American Express Card you register
  • The standard rule of one payment per retailer per Card will remain


If you, or someone you know runs an independent shop, it is worth considering signing up to take Amex payments in time for Shop Small. As a reminder, the last day you can apply to be an Amex merchant in time for Shop Small is 25th May. You can sign up here.

If you are not a shop-owner and simply have an American Express Card, Shop Small is a rewarding time to shop with local and independent retailers. American Express funds 100% of the cashback so your local independent shops are not paying to participate.

We will remind you when registration opens for Shop Small Summer 2022 – it is likely to be soon.

Comments (70)

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  • John says:

    Used to get excited but this offer when it was £5 off £5 unlimited but I haven’t even bothered last few years as it’s not worth the hassle of chasing every other £5 that hasn’t automatically been credited. Amex used to credit you £5 when you reported a business was listed but didn’t accept Amex but they don’t even do that now so again not worth making special trips.

  • Nick says:

    Lol love how they’re trying to promote the world’s least accurate and up-to-date map as a selling point to merchants 😂

    While they’re at it, they need to clamp down on merchants signing up to get the stickers/flyers and then switching to izettle (etc). I had to threaten FOS last time to get a SS credit, despite sending photos of the promo stickers plastered all over the shop’s door and window.

    • dougzz99 says:

      That’s like work though, way too much bother for a couple of fivers. This is a nice idea that doesn’t really work anymore, not for me anyway.

    • Andrew. says:

      I’ve had izettle ShopSmall offers trigger ok.

      Seems a nonsense to claim that they don’t count. I pay in a ShopSmall location by tapping my Amex card on a reader.

    • Chas says:

      That was my reaction when I read that too! The whole izettle thing really annoys me too – I completely agree with Andrew.’s analogy of it.

  • Max says:

    The map is dreadful, really difficult to use.

  • Sue says:

    Agree with most of above – a virtually useless “offer” not worth the effort anymore.

  • JDB says:

    It doesn’t cost anything to save the offer and I find it triggers in unusual places so we always end up benefiting from the promo, so not sure what the problem is.

    • Rui N. says:

      +1. I don’t understand how people get so upset for getting free money.

      • Cheshire Pete says:

        That’s easy to answer. Someone may go out of my way to search out a business they’d never used before, and factoring in they’re expecting to get £5 back in the cost/value of what they’re purchasing. If that £5 then doesn’t turn up, they’ve made a transaction probably otherwise they wouldn’t have made. That would certainly grate with some people, and so understandable.

        • Rui N. says:

          Maybe don’t go through all that trouble for £5 then? But some people here (not necessarily on this thread, but it has been common last few times shop small was around) claim they don’t even bother to save the offer. What exactly do they achieve with that?

          • Cheshire Pete says:

            I’m guessing, as I would always save it, and go about my usual business, but some might see saving it as the initial temptation to then go out and chase something that does occasionally go wrong. So they’re are removing that temptation hence avoiding the disappointment when it sometimes doesn’t turn up as expected!

          • MattB says:

            Amex will see how fewer people are opting in, and using the offers. Perhaps realise customers don’t find it worthwhile.

            But they probably don’t care as its less free money to give away but they can still boast about helping small businesses.

        • ChrisC says:

          Before going to said out of the way shop not pick up phone and call them?

          “Hello can you tell me if you take AMEX?”

          Is thst really so difficult?

          • RussellH says:

            My dentist used to post notices in the waiting room stating “Sorry, we do not take Amex”.

            His practice appeared on Shop Small this time last year, so I phoned and checked. Receptionist said “Sorry, we do not take Amex”.

            I went for my appointment and he told me that yes, the system would accept Amex, but he did not like to accept it as he saw Amex as a firm that rips off its merchants. He was quite happy for me (we have always got on very well together) to use Amex to pay for a check-up and for me to get the £5 shop small, but he did ask that I not tell others about it.

            On the other hand, my partner’s sister, who runs a pub 10 miles from here, thinks Shop Small is brilliant. She reckons it brings in significant extra turnover.

            Experience has suggested to me that there are some dubious merchant acquirers out there that sign businesses up for a package that includes Amex, but they do not tell their merchants that. I have seen too many small firms appearing on Shop Small that insist that they do not take Amex and are seriously surprised when they see an Amex transaction go through.

      • Chris says:

        At £250 a year for a card that was £30 for me, for an offer that’s gone from unlimited 50% discounts to very limited 33% discounts – it’s serious devaluation.

        Where is the line at which you would stop defending Amex? £1 off one one tx?

    • Andrew. says:

      It’s really handy that my dentist is on ShopSmall and my six-monthly checkups happen to fall within the relevant periods.

      I’ll go into my local shops and buy tea/coffee, cake, pies, and chocolates and spend £60-80 in them instead of Sazbo’s. It’s the whole point of the arrangement.

      • Mike says:

        Not too many chocolates or you will be back at the dentist !

      • Polly says:

        Our dentist went crazy after she discovered what a Saturday temp did 2nd last day of an older promo £5 back for £10 spend. I had used 10 family cards to get £50 credit on a due visit. Apparently she had some small fee charge with each one…both parties pretty annoyed as l wouldn’t have wanted her to be charged extra. But equally it was on our cards to use. Felt bad, not repeated, of course. Now only got a few cards.
        Will just get some gift vouchers for the local pub this time. Cover the tip, just about!

  • Scottydogg says:

    Every time ive used this it has ended up in problems . Went to a chinese from the shop small map , went to pay to be told they dont accept Amex and never have .
    Contacted Amex to let they know , they said they would investigate , never heard anything back . About a week later i checked the shop small list and the Chinese was still on there .
    This promotion is best avoided , not worth it for a fiver

    • Polly says:

      Our local Chinese similar. The daughter was just about to accept my card, when mum came screaming out from the back “no amex, no amex” so had to use mc instead, but l did tell amex and got the credit. Had the sticker in the window etc.. as you say, using the sticker to maybe draw in new customers.

      • John says:

        I’d have responded with no amex then they can dump the food – especially as they had to purposely put up that sticker.

        With the dentist I might have offered to reimburse them the extra fees, it can’t have been more than 50p per transaction so hardly worth them getting annoyed – my dentist could save £5 per patient per year by stopping sending us things in the post

  • David S says:

    £15 rules out all the Coffee Shops again. Bring back the £10 threshold

    • Polly says:

      Yes agree, the £10 deal (meal vouchers effectively half price) got a lot of support, but the £15 is probably not worth the effort, sadly. Unless it’s really convenient and one you want to support anyway. Like our local eatery.

  • Mark Bates says:

    It is worth noting that many businesses that accept AMEX will not be able to take part in this. Our business uses ‘Zettle’ for card payments (other similar systems are Sum Up and Square) any business that uses these whilst being able to accept AMEX I believe won’t be able to take part(I called AMEX last year over this and they confirmed this) There is no way we could afford the hefty costs with a ‘traditional’ card machines that big businesses use.

    • FSC says:

      When I did the maths the breakeven last time was £1200 turnover a month. Anything over that you are saving money. The breakeven is lower if you use wifi terminal and lower still for a wired terminal.

    • Axel says:

      Amex actually ran a pilot with SumUp on the last ShopSmall. Not had any update if they are running it this time or expanding to other payment aggregators.

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