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Could your business take part in Shop Small?

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This article has been sponsored by American Express Merchant Services

It has just been announced that American Express’ Shop Small will be back once again in December, ideal for anyone shopping with independent retailers in the lead-up to Christmas.

In case you are new to this promotion, Shop Small is designed to encourage customers to shop in local independent stores instead of major chains.

The Shop Small campaign has been run twice a year since 2020 – in December and in June – and is often popular with HfP readers. The upcoming offer will offer you £5 cashback when you spend £15.

You can now register your American Express Cards for the December 2023 Shop Small via the American Express website or app.

American Express Shop Small returns for December 2023

Do you have a business that could take part in Shop Small?

Along with the many other benefits you get from accepting American Express at your business, and with Shop Small just around the corner, we wanted to outline the benefits of taking part in Shop Small as a merchant.

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 American Express® App

Which businesses are eligible for 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 signed up to accept American Express and have their terminal enabled before 25th November 2022 using this link here.

How will Shop Small work for consumers?

  • The campaign is now confirmed to run from 3rd to 12th December
  • You must register in advance via the ‘Offers’ section of the Amex App or website. Each Card / Supplementary Card must be registered separately. Registration is now 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 run an independent shop, or café or a small chain of these, it is worth considering signing up to take Amex payments in time for Shop Small.

As a reminder, to take part in Shop Small, business owners need to signed up to accept American Express and have their terminal enabled before 25th November 2022 . You can sign up here. Terms and Conditions apply.

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.

Comments (52)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • DarrenS says:

    Unfortunately the map is useless. I went into a place on Saturday. Tried to pay with Amex, but they do not accept it. Low and behold, they are on the current Shop Small map. My local Italian has been on the map for years. They have never taken Amex. I have mentioned this twice to Amex, no action taken. Jewelry shop in Leeds last year, on the map, shop small sticker in the window. Don’t actually take Amex and couldn’t care less, just saw it as ‘marketing’.

    It a shame really, as with effort, it could actually drive sales to local, small businesses.

  • FSC says:

    We take Amex. And over the last year had Amex come in twice to do test transactions. Works with phone transactions as well.

    • Axel says:

      Do you know what Amex are charging you for the direct service? If its over 1.6% on any turnover its an expensive service.

      • Jonathan says:

        The HfP points team haven’t covered at all in this article what Amex charge you the retailer to accept their cards…

        • Rich says:

          It is well known that accepting Amex increases sales. Amex holders make conscious choices as to where they shop based on card acceptance – the commission is worth it.

      • Fs says:

        0.9%. Visa is 0.6 and debit is 0.3

  • SamCam says:

    With the state of the economy, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to sign up to Amex with their fees at this time. Even the big boys like Wickes and Domino’s Pizza have dropped Amex.

    • ChasP says:

      Wickes dont accept AMEX online (but they do take PAYPAL:-))
      You can pay by AMEX in store according to their website
      An odd state of affairs

    • Bill says:

      Dominos app accepts Amex, Google Pay and Paypal

      • Icewhite says:

        Amex shows as being accepted by Dominos but when going to purchase it won’t take Amex – the CVV box is limited to 3 numbers. Perhaps this is a franchise specific issue? Mine has stopped taking cash too.

  • gary w says:

    I work for Amex field marketing team and regularly perform test purchases and mystery shops. Some of the Small shop merchants claim they don’t accept however the terminal is always set up to accept. Any that decline are removed from merchant list. HOWEVER- merchants often change payment providers and the data lags . I except this is not ideal

    • ChasP says:

      publish your phone number and you wont need to leave your desk 🙂 . We will provide you with enough small shops on your list that don’t accept Amex to keep you busy the rest of the year

      • Ernie says:

        Work from home and draw two salaries.

        Good tip from Rob recently.

        I’ll start the ball rolling.

        Rolleston Club. Easy one.

        If you need any more let me know.

  • Will says:

    Does shop small work if you use Apple Pay?

  • harry hv says:

    Shop Small has just been devalued. In Australia, it’s running at the moment and the rebate is 0%. You just get an entry into some kind of prize draw.

    • Alex Sm says:

      you see! and the UK customers moan that it’s £5 off £15 now, not £10 as before…

  • milesandmordor says:

    Amex for a small retailer is actually pretty good value. Yes the commission rate is a bit more than Visa / Mastercard but the support is very good. Payment quicker (2 working days) , lots of free merchandise , friendly reps regularly drop by with goodies and they are much more supportive than visa / mcd when spurious chargebacks are attempted. And Amex customers do tend to be a bit more up-market and spend more.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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