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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 and to help communities thrive. As the founding partner, American Express has created Shop Small resources that can help your business stand out, and reach and attract new customers throughout the year.

Founded 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. This year, Small Business Saturday is on November 25th, 2017. Mark your calendar! For more information about the day, go to ShopSmall.com/about

3. Is there any cost to my business to be a part of Shop Small or Small Business Saturday?

No. These resources and programs are fully funded by American Express and are provided to qualifying American Express Card accepting small Merchants at no additional cost. However, you may be responsible for the cost of printing certain marketing materials.

4. What Shop Small resources are available to my business and how can I get them?

As a qualifying American Express Card accepting small Merchant, there are a number of ways to connect to customers using free marketing tools and resources. You can include your business location(s) on the Shop Small Map or Online Directory, so that customers can find you and see important information about your business. Once you are listed on the Map, you are also eligible to be recommended in American Express marketing to Card Members. These local recommendations are done through American Express targeted marketing and are based on how each Card Member spends.

To get started with the Shop Small Map or Online Directory, follow these steps:

  • Log into your Merchant account here*
  • Click on your business location. A page 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 that follow.
  • Click the edit icon on the right side of the page to update your business location's public information.
  • Make sure the checkbox is checked 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” button after making changes in each portion of your location details to save your updates.

Updates can take up to 3 days 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 have the opportunity to create personalized Free Online Ads which, if approved, will be displayed to potential customers on websites during different times throughout the year. At the end of the submission, you can also create personalized marketing materials including printable signage, digital banners, email templates, and more.

To learn more about the free benefits you receive as part of accepting American Express, please visit americanexpress.com/marketing.

*To register and log in to your Merchant account for the first time, you will need your Merchant Number or Merchant Access Code, a ten digit number issued by American Express. If you are unsure whether you have received a Merchant Number/Access Code, or can't recall your Merchant Number/Access Code, you can call our Shop Small 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.

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

To qualify for placement on the Shop Small Map or Online Directory, Merchants must meet the following qualification criteria.

  • You must be an American Express Card accepting Merchant;
  • You must be located in 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, or the U.S. Virgin Islands (for brick-and-mortar businesses, this means that you must have at least one physical business location within these territories; for online-only businesses, this means that you must have a service area within these territories);
  • You must have at least 1 but no more than 25 locations and meet certain American Express annual charge volume requirements;
  • You must not be part of a franchise brand with more than 250 stores; Additionally, if a franchise brand has more than 25 corporate-owned stores, then the entire brand is excluded;
  • Businesses in these industries are excluded: Government agencies, public administration, gas stations and businesses located on the same premises as a gas station, travel agencies, charities, non-profits, peer-to-peer payments, crowdfunding, trade associations, shopping property management companies, direct sellers, and political organizations;
  • In some cases, if you process American Express Card payments solely through a third-party processor (for example, those that offer the ability to accept credit cards through a card reader attached to a mobile device) or as part of an affiliate program, you may be excluded from participating in the Shop Small Map depending on whether or not the third party provides sufficient data for American Express to determine whether your business meets the foregoing qualifications.

Additional qualification criteria apply for Free Online Ads, personalized marketing materials, and merchandise (when applicable). For full details, including information about how to ensure your qualifying business appears on the Shop Small Map, see the Terms of Participation.

6. I process American Express Cards solely through a third party payments aggregator. Do I qualify?

Possibly. Provided you meet all other eligibility criteria as outlined above, you may be eligible to appear on the Shop Small Map or Online Directory, provided that the aggregator provides sufficient data for American Express to determine whether your business meets the foregoing qualifications. To determine whether or not you are eligible, you can log in to the Merchant website or call us at 1-800-235-8916 between 9am - 6pm EST, Monday through Friday.

7. What are the Shop Small Map and Online Directory?

The Shop Small Map displays qualifying small businesses with a physical business location so that customers can easily locate you. 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.

When you're on the Map, customers can see important information about your business, and you can be included in local recommendations to Card Members with a history of purchases at businesses like yours. These local recommendations are done through American Express targeted marketing and based on how each Card Member spends.

8. 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 set forth in FAQ 5. There is no additional cost to be included on either the Shop Small Map or Online Directory.

9. My business was included on a previous version of the Shop Small Map or Online Directory. Am I still listed?

Yes, probably. However, the qualification criteria for Shop Small may change from time to time. If you are no longer listed, please review the current qualification criteria set forth in FAQ 5 to see if your business location(s) still 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 page 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 that follow.
  • Click the edit icon on the right side of the page to update your business location's public information.
  • Make sure the checkbox is checked 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" button after making changes in each portion of your location details to save your updates.

Updates can take up to 3 days to be reflected on the Shop Small Map or Online Directory.

*To register and log in to your Merchant account for the first time, you will need your Merchant Number or Merchant Access Code, a ten-digit number issued by American Express. If you are unsure whether you have received a Merchant Number/Access Code, can't recall your Merchant Number/Access Code, or if you're having trouble logging in, you can call our Shop Small servicing center at 1-800-235-8916. We are available from 9am - 6pm EST, Monday through Friday. You can also email us at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com.

10. How do I update or add my business location(s) 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 page 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 that follow.
  • Click the edit icon on the right side of the page to update your business location's public information.
  • Make sure the checkbox is checked 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" button after making changes in each portion of your location details to save your updates.

Updates can take up to 3 days 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 have the opportunity to create personalized Free Online Ads which, if approved, will be displayed to potential customers on websites during different times throughout the year. At the end of the submission, you can also create personalized marketing materials including printable signage, digital banners, email templates, and more.

To learn more about the free benefits you receive as part of accepting American Express, please visit americanexpress.com/marketing.

*To register and log in to your Merchant account for the first time, you will need your Merchant Number or Merchant Access Code, a ten-digit number issued by American Express. If you are unsure whether you have received a Merchant Number/Access Code, can't recall your Merchant Number/Access Code, or if you're having trouble logging in, you can call our Shop Small servicing center at 1-800-235-8916. We are available from 9am - 6pm EST, Monday through Friday. You can also email us at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com.

11. 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 other business locations to the Shop Small Map or Online Directory?

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

  • Log into your Merchant account here*
  • Click on your business location. A page 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 that follow.
  • Click the edit icon on the right side of the page to update your business location's public information.
  • Make sure the checkbox is checked 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" button after making changes in each portion of your location details to save your updates.

Updates can take up to 3 days 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.

*To register and log in to your Merchant account for the first time, you will need your Merchant Number or Merchant Access Code, a ten-digit number issued by American Express. If you are unsure whether you have received a Merchant Number/Access Code, can't recall your Merchant Number/Access Code, or if you're having trouble logging in, you can call our Shop Small servicing center at 1-800-235-8916. We are available from 9am - 6pm EST, Monday through Friday. You can also email us at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com.

12. I tried searching for my business on the Shop Small Map or Online Directory, but it did not appear in the search results. Why would this be happening, and 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 current qualification criteria set forth in FAQ 5 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, 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 page 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 that follow.
    • Click the edit icon on the right side of the page to update your business location's public information.
    • Make sure the checkbox is checked 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" button after making changes in each portion of your location details to save your updates.

Updates can take up to 3 days to be reflected on the Shop Small Map or Online Directory.

You may have previously removed your business from a Shop Small campaign. If so, your business location(s) will not appear on the Shop Small Map or Online Directory. You can opt back in to include your business location(s) on the Shop Small Map or Online Directory 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, as outlined in steps 1-5, above.

*To register and log in to your Merchant account for the first time, you will need your Merchant Number or Merchant Access Code, a ten-digit number issued by American Express. If you are unsure whether you have received a Merchant Number/Access Code, can't recall your Merchant Number/Access Code, or if you're having trouble logging in, you can call our Shop Small servicing center at 1-800-235-8916. We are available from 9am - 6pm EST, Monday through Friday. You can also email us at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com.

13. 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 because you can't be listed in both.

14. 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 section of the Shop Small Map. This directory is for businesses that do not have a physical address for shoppers to visit. When confirming or adding your business information, make sure you update your URL, and in the Servicing section, make sure the "This is not a location Card Members can visit" checkbox is checked.

15. I noticed on the Shop Small Map that some Merchants are highlighted as American Express Card Member Favorites. What does this mean?

The American Express Card Member Favorite program recognizes select merchants across the country where Card Members visit again and again. To learn more about the Card Member Favorite program, please visit here.

16. 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 3 days to be reflected on the Shop Small Map or Online Directory.

Please note that 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, you will not qualify to apply for Free Online Ads, will not be able to access customized Shop Small marketing materials, and may not be included in various Shop Small Card Member offers.

*To register and log in to your Merchant account for the first time, you will need your Merchant Number or Merchant Access Code, a ten-digit number issued by American Express. If you are unsure whether you have received a Merchant Number/Access Code, can't recall your Merchant Number/Access Code, or if you're having trouble logging in, you can call our Shop Small servicing center at 1-800-235-8916. We are available from 9am - 6pm EST, Monday through Friday. You can also email us at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com.

17. 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.

18. I can't log into my Merchant account because I don't have a Merchant Number or Access Code. Where can I find this information?

To log in to the Merchant website and access the Shop Small marketing materials, you will need your Merchant Number or Access Code, a ten-digit number issued by American Express.

If you are unsure of your Merchant Number or Access Code, you can call our Shop Small 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.

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

Learn more about Card acceptance and rate options with our OptBlue® program. Visit OptBlue.com or call 1-800-480-1222.

20. 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 Shop Small 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?

If you qualify for Free Online Ads and personalized marketing materials, you have the opportunity to submit a personalized online ad which, if approved, will be displayed to potential customers on websites during different times throughout the year. In addition, when you complete your Free Online Ads submission, you can access downloadable materials that 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 SmallĀ® with you throughout the year.

To learn more about the free benefits you receive as part of accepting American Express, please visit americanexpress.com/marketing.

2. Do I qualify for Free Online Ads and Marketing Materials?

Please see the Terms of Participation to review the complete qualification criteria for Free Online Ads and personalized marketing materials.

3. Why is American Express® offering Free Online Ads and personalized marketing materials? Is there any cost to my business?

In addition to the Shop Small Map and Online Directory, Free Online Ads and personalized marketing materials 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.

To learn more about the free benefits you receive as part of accepting American Express, please visit americanexpress.com/marketing.

4. How do I create my personalized marketing materials and submit Free Online Ads?

Qualifying American Express Card accepting small Merchants can submit for Free Online Ads and personalized marketing materials by following the steps below. 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 page 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 that follow.
  • Click the edit icon on the right side of the page to update your business location's public information.
  • Make sure the checkbox is checked 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" button after making changes in each portion of your location details to save your updates.

Updates can take up to 3 days 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, you can begin creating your personalized Free Online Ads which, if approved, will be displayed to potential customers on websites during different times throughout the year. 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 additional 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.

*To register and log in to your Merchant account for the first time, you will need your Merchant Number or Merchant Access Code, a ten-digit number issued by American Express. If you are unsure whether you have received a Merchant Number/Access Code, can't recall your Merchant Number/Access Code, or if you're having trouble logging in, you can call our Shop Small servicing center at 1-800-235-8916. We are available from 9am - 6pm EST, Monday through Friday. You can also email us at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com.

5. When can I submit 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 submit for Free Online Ads. There are submission deadlines throughout the year which will determine the timeframe (media window) in which your ad will be displayed. There is no guarantee that a given timeframe (media window) will be available at the time you submit your ad; available timeframes (media windows) are based on availability at the time your ad is submitted. Eligibility restrictions apply. Please see the Terms of Participation for full details.

6. Who will see my Free Online Ads?

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 various parts of the country. Your ad may appear on websites like CNN.com, weather.com, and more, although we cannot guarantee any specific website on which your ad will run.

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 can't guarantee a specific number of impressions.

7. 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 submission process.

8. When will I know if my Free Online Ads submission is approved or declined?

Each submission will be reviewed to determine whether it meets the Merchant qualification criteria 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.

9. My business has multiple locations. Can I submit for Free Online Ads for each location?

Yes! You may submit to receive a Free Online Ads for each of your business locations that is included on the Shop Small Map or Online Directory. As part of the application process, we'll ask you to select the locations for which you would like to receive Free Online Ads.

10. Do small businesses outside of the continental U.S. qualify to receive Free Online Ads?

Free Online Ads are only available to qualifying American Express Card accepting small businesses that have a business location or service area in the United States. For more information, please see the Terms of Participation.

11. I was approved for Free Online 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.

12. 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 Shop Small 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. General 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.
  • In general, American Express selects small Merchants to include in Card Member offers from those that meet the current qualification criteria set forth in FAQ 5 and that have 1 or more locations listed on the Shop Small Map or Online Directory. 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 10-12 weeks 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.
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