Kai Pfaffenbach | Reuters
The payment is to help businesses with the start-up costs required to begin accepting American Express, historically known for its high-end customers. Some of the sign-up bonuses have reached about a half-million dollars, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.
In the past five years, American Express has launched business strategies to reach parity coverage in the U.S. In addition to initiatives to help small merchants, the company has offered “targeted sign-on incentives,” an American Express spokesperson told CNBC. Some payments ranged from under $10,000 to about $450,000, the WSJ noted.
The bonuses have only been offered to a fraction of the millions of merchants the payment processor brings on, the spokesperson said. Since 2017, more than three million new merchant locations started accepting American Express.
American Express expects to catch up with Visa and Mastercard in the U.S. by the end of the year, the company said.
Lagging the payments world
In the past five years, American Express shares have risen about 32%. Payment processor Mastercard has rallied more than 230% and Visa’s stock has soared about 190%.
Visa, which has a market value of about $386 billion, and MasterCard, which has a market value of about $279 billion, have both ended the last eight years in positive territory, with most years accounting for double digit gains in the stocks. Mastercard and Visa are two of the most-loved stocks on Wall Street.
American Express, with a market cap of about $98 billion, has had years with double digit losses in its annual performance in the last decade.
Shares of American Express were up slightly on Tuesday.
—with reporting from CNBC’s Kate Rooney.
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