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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Shop Small® Movement? What is Small Business Saturday®?

Shop Small is a nationwide movement to celebrate small businesses every day and to help communities thrive. As the founding partner, American Express has created resources that can help your business stand out and reach and attract new customers throughout the year.

Created by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is the cornerstone of American Express’s Shop Small efforts. While Small Business Saturday is highlighted as a special day when we can show our support as a nation for small business owners and our communities, the Shop Small Movement is a year-round campaign to celebrate and support small businesses every day.

2. When is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

3. What resources are available to my business and how can I access them?

If you are a qualifying American Express Card accepting small merchant, you can include your business location(s) on the Shop Small Map or online directory by following these steps:

  • Log into your merchant account here
  • Click on your business location. A pop up window will display your business location’s public information as it will be seen on our Shop Small Map and other marketing channels, provided you complete the steps below
  • Click the pencil icon in the pop up window to edit your business location’s public information
  • Check the checkbox to indicate you want to get free exposure for your business by allowing your public business information to be seen on our Shop Small Map and other marketing channels
  • Click the “Save Updates” button at the bottom of the pop up window to save your updates

Updates can take up to 48 hours to be reflected on the Shop Small Map or online directory.

Once you have verified and/or updated your public facing business information and checked the box that you want your location(s) to be included on the Shop Small Map or online directory and in other marketing channels, you can also create personalized marketing materials including printable signage, digital banners, email templates, and more. In addition, several times during the year, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for free online ads which, if approved, will be displayed to potential customers in your service area.

Please note that the online directory may not be available to Card Members at various times during the year during the offer period for certain Card Member offers.

4. Is there any cost to my business to be a part of Shop Small?

No. These resources are fully funded by American Express and are provided to qualifying small merchants at no additional cost.

5. What is a qualifying American Express Card accepting small merchant?

Eligible merchants are those located within the 50 United States, District of Columbia, American Samoa, Armed Forces Pacific, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands that have 25 or fewer locations. Additionally, all merchants must meet certain American Express annual charge volume requirements.

Businesses in the following industries are excluded: government agencies, public administration, gas stations, businesses located on the same premises as gas stations, charities, non-profits, trade associations, shopping property management companies, direct sellers, travel agents, and political organizations. Small businesses that are part of a franchise brand with more than 100 total stores or 20 corporate-owned stores are excluded. Additionally, if a franchise brand has more than 20 corporate-owned stores, then the entire brand is excluded. Businesses that accept American Express Cards solely through a third-party payment aggregator or affiliate are excluded unless the businesses have received Merchant Access Codes from American Express. If you are unsure if you have received a Merchant Access Code, you can call our merchant servicing center at 1-800-235-8916. We are available from 9am EST to 6pm EST, Monday through Friday. You can also email us at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com.

Additional qualification criteria apply for free online ads and personalized marketing materials. See Terms of Participation for full details.

6. What are the Shop Small Map and online directory?

The Shop Small Map displays qualifying small businesses with a physical business location. The online directory within the Shop Small Map lists qualifying small businesses that only accept online transactions or those that do not have a physical business location.

Please note that the online directory may not be available to Card Members at various times during the offer period for certain Card Member offers.

7. What businesses are included on the Shop Small Map or online directory? Is there any cost?

Your business can be included on the Shop Small Map or online directory if you meet our qualification criteria. There is no additional cost to be included on either the Shop Small Map or online directory.

8. My business was included on a previous version of the Shop Small Map or online directory. Am I still listed?

The qualification criteria for Shop Small may change from time to time. Please review the current qualification criteria to see if your business location(s) qualifies to be listed on the Shop Small Map or online directory.

If you are a qualifying American Express Card accepting small merchant, you can include your business location(s) on the Shop Small Map or online directory by following these steps:

  • Log into your merchant account here
  • Click on your business location. A pop up window will display your business location’s public information as it will be seen on our Shop Small Map and other marketing channels, provided you complete the steps below
  • Click the pencil icon in the pop up window to edit your business location’s public information
  • Check the checkbox to indicate you want to get free exposure for your business by allowing your public business information to be seen on our Shop Small Map and other marketing channels
  • Click the “Save Updates” button at the bottom of the pop up window to save your updates

Updates can take up to 48 hours to be reflected on the Shop Small Map or online directory.

9. How do I update my business location on the Shop Small Map and access other marketing materials including free online ads?

To update your business location on the Shop Small Map:

  • Log into your merchant account here
  • Click on your business location. A pop up window will display your business location’s public information as it will be seen on our Shop Small Map and other marketing channels, provided you complete the steps below
  • Click the pencil icon in the pop up window to edit your business location’s public information
  • Check the checkbox to indicate you want to get free exposure for your business by allowing your public business information to be seen on our Shop Small Map and other marketing channels
  • Click the “Save Updates” button at the bottom of the pop up window to save your updates

Updates can take up to 48 hours to be reflected on the Shop Small Map or online directory.

Once you have verified and/or updated your public facing business information and checked the box that you want your location(s) to be included on the Shop Small Map or online directory and in other marketing channels, you can also create personalized marketing materials including printable signage, digital banners, email templates, and more. In addition, several times during the year, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for free online ads which, if approved, will be displayed to potential customers in your service area.

Please note that the online directory may not be available to Card Members at various times during the offer period for certain Card Member offers.

10. I logged into my merchant account, but some of my business locations are missing when I go to see my public information. How do I add my business location on the Shop Small Map or online directory?

To update your profile to add any missing business locations your public information, please follow these steps:

  • Log into your merchant account here
  • Click the “Connect it to your account” link on the bottom of the page. You will be taken to a page that lists all of your business locations that we have on file.
  • Enter your 10-digit Merchant Account Number/Access Code and Zip Code in the pop-up screen.
  • Click the “Verify” button at the bottom of the pop-up screen.
  • Select your Business Role from the drop-down menu that appears.
  • Click the “Submit” button at the bottom of the pop-up screen. Your location is now available to be included on the Shop Small Map or online directory.

Updates can take up to 48 hours to be reflected on the Shop Small Map or online directory.

Please note that you will need your Merchant Number or Access Code for each location you wish to add. If you have recently opened a new location, please keep in mind that it may take up to 3 weeks for the new location to appear.

11. I tried searching for my business on the Shop Small Map or online directory, but it did not appear in the search results. What can I do?

Your business may not appear in the search results for a few reasons:

  • Your business location(s) may not qualify. Please review the qualification criteria to see if your business location qualifies to appear on the Shop Small Map or online directory.
  • Your business location(s) may qualify to appear on the Shop Small Map or online directory, but you may need to indicate your preference for including your business location(s) on the Shop Small Map or online directory. To include a qualifying business location on the Map or directory, please follow these steps:
    • Log into your merchant account here
    • Click on your business location. A pop up window will display your business location’s public information as it will be seen on our Shop Small Map and other marketing channels, provided you complete the steps below
    • Click the pencil icon in the pop up window to edit your business location’s public information
    • Check the checkbox to indicate you want to get free exposure for your business by allowing your public business information to be seen on our Shop Small Map and other marketing channels
    • Click the “Save Updates” button at the bottom of the pop up window to save your updates

Updates can take up to 48 hours to be reflected on the Shop Small Map or online directory.

  • If you have already included your business location(s) and updated your public business information through your merchant account, it may take up to 3 weeks to see your business location appear on the map or online directory.
  • If you have previously removed your business from a Shop Small campaign, your business location(s) will not appear on the Shop Small Map or online directory. You can include your business location(s) on the Shop Small Map or online directory again by checking the checkbox that allows us to include your public business information on the Shop Small Map or online directory and in other marketing channels. For more information, click here.
12. My business has a physical location but I also operate online. Can my business be included on both the Shop Small Map and the online directory?

It depends. Each location displayed on the Shop Small Map or online directory is tied to a unique Merchant Number/Access Code, so you can only indicate one listing preference per Merchant Number/Access Code. If you have separate Merchant Numbers/Access Codes for your physical store and your online business, you may include one on the map and one on the online directory. However, if you use the same Merchant Number/Access Code for both parts of your business, you will need to choose to be listed either on the Shop Small Map or the online directory as you cannot be listed in both.

13. I provide a service, such as personal fitness training, and I don’t have a storefront or online store. Can I be included on the Shop Small Map or online directory?

Yes! You can include your business on the online directory within the Shop Small Map. This directory is for businesses that do not have a storefront.

14. How do I remove my business from the Shop Small Map or online directory?
  • Log into your merchant account here
  • Click on your business location.
  • Click the pencil icon in the pop up window to edit your business location’s public information
  • Uncheck the checkbox to indicate that you do not want to get free exposure for your business by allowing your public business information to be seen on our Shop Small Map and other marketing channels
  • Click the “Save Updates” button at the bottom of the pop up window to save your updates

Updates can take up to 48 hours to be reflected on the Shop Small Map or online directory.

Please note that you will not qualify to apply for free online ads, cannot access customized Shop Small marketing materials, and may not be included in various Shop Small Card Member offers if you uncheck the checkbox that allows us to include your public business information on the Shop Small Map or online directory and in other marketing channels.

15. Will updates to my public information change my billing or contact information that is on file with American Express or my third-party payment processor?

No. This process will only update your public information for use on the Shop Small Map, online directory, and other marketing channels, as well as free online ads, and other personalized marketing materials.

If you need to make changes to your merchant account information that American Express or your third-party payment processor uses to manage your account, please call the number on your monthly statement. Likewise, if you update your billing or other account information, these changes will not automatically be made to your Shop Small Map or online directory listing.

16. I can’t log into my merchant account because I don’t have a Merchant Number or Access Code. I accept American Express Cards through a third-party payments aggregator. Is there another way I can log in?

No. Merchants who accept American Express Cards solely through a third-party payment aggregator do not qualify to be included on the Shop Small Map or online directory, or to apply for free online ads, unless those merchants have received Merchant Access Codes from American Express.

If you are unsure if you have received a Merchant Access Code, you can call our merchant servicing center at 1-800-235-8916. We are available from 9am EST to 6pm EST, Monday through Friday. You can also email us at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com.

17. I noticed on the Shop Small Map that some merchants are highlighted as 2014 American Express Member Favorites. What does this mean?

To learn more about the American Express Member Favorite program, please visit here.

18. My business does not currently accept American Express Cards. Where can I learn more about becoming an American Express merchant?

Learn more here or call 1-855-TAKE-AMEX (1-855-825-3263).

19. I have a question that isn’t addressed by the FAQs on this page. Where can I go for help?

If the FAQs on this page do not address your questions, please feel free to call our merchant servicing center at 1-800-235-8916. We are available from 9am EST to 6pm EST, Monday through Friday. You can also email us at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com.

1. What personalized marketing materials are available?

Materials include free personalized printable signage, digital banners, social posts and more. These pieces will feature your business name, neighborhood (or town), and a few words that you’ll provide about what makes your business special. You can immediately download these materials to hang in your store, post on your website, or send out via your social media channels. It’s a great way to let customers know they can Shop Small® with you throughout the year. From time to time, you can also apply for free online ads to be displayed on various websites.

2. Why is American Express® offering personalized marketing materials and online ads? Is there any cost to my business?

In addition to the Shop Small Map and online directory, personalized marketing materials and free online ads are additional ways that American Express is helping small businesses gain exposure to American Express Card Members and other consumers throughout the year. This benefit is provided to qualifying small merchants at no additional cost. Qualification criteria apply.

3. How do I create my personalized marketing materials and apply for free online ads?

Only qualifying American Express Card accepting small merchants can personalize marketing materials and apply for a Shop Small listing and free online ads. To get started, you must first verify and/or update your public business information and confirm that you want to get free exposure for your business by following these steps:

  • Log into your merchant account here
  • Click on your business location. A pop up window will display your business location’s public information as it will be seen on our Shop Small Map and other marketing channels, provided you complete the steps below
  • Click the pencil icon in the pop up window to edit your business location’s public information
  • Check the checkbox to indicate you want to get free exposure for your business by allowing your public business information to be seen on our Shop Small Map and other marketing channels
  • Click the “Save Updates” button at the bottom of the pop up window to save your updates

Updates can take up to 48 hours to be reflected on the Shop Small Map or online directory.

Once you have verified and/or updated your public facing business information and checked the box that you want your location(s) to be included on the Shop Small Map or online directory and in other marketing channels, we’ll help you create free personalized printable signage, digital banners, social posts and more. These pieces will feature your business name, neighborhood (or town), and a few words that you’ll provide about what makes your business special. You can immediately download these materials to hang in your store, post on your website, or send out via your social media channels. It’s a great way to let customers know they can Shop Small® with you throughout the year. From time to time, you can also apply for free online ads to be displayed on various websites.

Please note that the online directory may not be available to Card Members at various times during the year during the offer period for certain Card Member offers.

4. When can I apply for free online ads and when will they run?

Once you have verified and/or updated your public facing business information and checked the box that you want your location(s) to be included on the Shop Small Map or online directory and in other marketing channels, you can apply for free online ads. Free online ads will be offered periodically throughout the year. Eligibility restrictions apply. Please see the Terms of Participation for full details and current application and run dates.

5. Who will see my free online ad?

If your business has a storefront, your ad will be displayed to customers located in or near your business ZIP code. If your business is online only or does not have a storefront, your ad will be displayed to customers in your service area.

American Express measures the number of people exposed to your online ad in the form of impressions, and one impression is a single display of an ad on a webpage. We cannot guarantee a specific number of impressions, but you will receive an email within three months after your ad cycle ends with high-level reporting.

6. If a customer clicks on my ad, where will they go?

Customers will be directed either to your business website or page on Facebook. You can select your preference during the application process.

7. When will I know if my free online ad application is approved or declined?

Each application will be reviewed to determine whether it meets the merchant qualification requirements as outlined in the Terms of Participation. This process can take up to 4 weeks. Once the review is complete, you will receive an email letting you know whether your ad was approved or declined.

8. My business has multiple locations. Can I apply for a free online ad for each location?

Yes! You may apply to receive a free online ad for each of your business locations that is opted in to be included on the Shop Small Map or online directory and other marketing channels. As part of the application process, we’ll ask you to select the locations for which you would like to receive free online ads.

9. Do small businesses outside of the continental U.S. qualify to receive free online ads?

Online ads are available to qualifying American Express Card accepting small businesses that have a business location or service area in the 50 United States, District of Columbia, American Samoa, Armed Forces Pacific, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Northern Mariana Islands or Palau, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information, please see the Terms of Participation.

10. I was approved for free ads. Is it possible to have my ads pulled?

If you would like to pull your approved ads for any reason, please call our merchant servicing center at 1-800-235-8916. We are available from 9am EST to 6pm EST, Monday through Friday. You can also email us at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com.

11. I have a question that isn’t addressed by the FAQs on this page. Where can I go for help?

If the FAQs on this page do not address your questions, please feel free to call our merchant servicing center at 1-800-235-8916. We are available from 9am EST to 6pm EST, Monday through Friday. You can also email us at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com.

Information About American Express Card Member Offers

American Express wants to help drive customers to small merchants all year long. To help encourage Card Members to seek out and shop at our small merchants, from time to time, American Express may include your business in Card Member offers from American Express. There is no additional cost to your business to be included in these offers.

Each offer will have terms that are specific for that offer, but in general, American Express Card Member offers that include small merchants work as follows:

  • Card Members will need to either register or add the offer to an eligible American Express Card during a specified period for the specific offer they want to take advantage of.
  • To redeem the offer, Card Members will need to make a qualifying purchase using their registered or enrolled Card at a qualifying small merchant that is included in the offer during the offer promotion period. Note that in some cases, the Card Member will need to make a purchase of a minimum dollar amount for it to qualify for the offer.
  • Qualifying small merchants may be included in an offer-specific listing, directory or map to help Card Members identify where to take advantage of a specific offer. Please note that inclusion of your business location(s) on the American Express Shop Small Map or Online Directory does not necessarily mean your business is included in a specific offer. In general, American Express selects small merchants to include in Card Member offers from those that meet the Shop Small qualification criteria and that have 1 or more locations opted in to be promoted to Card Members via the Shop Small Map and other marketing channels. Click here to learn how to check or update your location information and preferences.
  • Qualifying small merchants should submit all transactions to their processor within 7 business days to ensure Card Members that make qualifying purchases receive their offer benefit.
  • In general, Card Members that make qualifying purchases will receive their offer benefit from American Express within 90-120 days after the end of the offer promotion period.
  • Card Members may have their offer benefit reversed if the qualifying purchase is returned or cancelled.

If a Card Member has any questions about an American Express Card Member offer, please direct the Card Member to call the number on the back of their American Express Card for information.

If you do NOT want your business to be included in future Card Member offers, you can opt your location(s) out of being promoted to Card Members via our Shop Small Map and other marketing channels by following these steps:

  • Log into your merchant account here
  • Click on your business location
  • Click the pencil icon in the pop up window to edit your business location’s public information
  • Uncheck the checkbox to indicate you want to get free exposure for your business by allowing your public business information to be seen on our Shop Small Map and other marketing channels
  • Click the “Save Updates” button at the bottom of the pop up window to save your updates

Updates can take up to 48 hours to be reflected on the Shop Small Map or online directory.

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