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In the EU, interchange fees are capped at 0.2% of transaction value for debit cards, and 0.3% for credit cards.

This has indeed meant that rewards and cashback credit cards have largely disappeared (with the exception of Amex, which operates outside the interchange system?).

Rewards/cashback cards that do still exist are typically tied to specific retailers, with whom the issuing bank has cut their own deals.

AMEX is a three-party system, whereas Visa/MC are a four-party system. The difference is that AMEX themselves issue their cards, whereas for Visa/MC it's the customer's bank (on license by Visa/MC). Since the customer's bank sets the interchange fee, a merchant can't possibly know what it's going to be before the transaction.

With AMEX the merchant does know the exact fee structure and can therefore decide to accept or not to accept AMEX ahead of time. That's essentially the argument why the fees for AMEX were not capped.

Sounds like a Pyramid scam

> with the exception of Amex, which operates outside the interchange system?

Right, but try using Amex in Europe.

Outside of major international hotel chains, or where you can do your purchase online through Paypal, you may as well not bother asking if they accept it.

Outside of major international hotel chains, or where you can do your purchase online through Paypal, you may as well not bother asking if they accept it.

It's very interesting to hear that.

When I first started traveling to Europe, having an American Express card (or even better, AmEx travelers checks) was the best way for an American to pay for things. It's even written into some classic books and movies.

My how things have changed.

I don't think American Express card have ever been a practical way of paying for things in Europe.

I would guess 90% of Europeans have never even seen one of these cards, unless they work in international hotels or tourist places.

I'm Dutch, and my dad had both an American Express and a Diner's Club card from his work. I never really understood why those would be better than other credit cards.

I got assigned an American Express card to pay for expenses when I got a job with British Gas about 20 years ago. It was a bit of a pain because it often wasn't accepted. There was definitely some sweet deal for BG to use Amex as, as has been said above 90% of Europe were using Visa/Maestro

In Poland AFAIK when you sign up for a card terminal the company that lends it to you usually gets a cut from the transactions (besides the bank and card companies).

And there is a lower % for normal/popular cards (Visa/Mastercard) and higher (even 4%) for Amex, so most stores just ignore it and remove the Amex symbol from their terminal.

And yet, my company provides Amex corporate card for bussiness travel, but we usually go to US, so Amex is more accepted there.

> It's even written into some classic books and movies.

That was one of the deciding factors when I was planning on getting a second credit card (so I'd have a backup while travelling).

I knew here in Australia they are not widely accepted, with only major retailers accepting it typically, but I thought that this was just Australia being backwards.

After spending the first two or three weeks trying to pay for things with it, I gave up except on checking into a new hotel.

I think it differs a great deal between countries in the EU. I'm Swedish and I have an Amex card and most of my friends and colleagues use Amex as well. I use it for about 85% of my spending each month. The only places in Stockholm that don't accept it are smaller coffee shops, restaurants that don't get that many tourists and mom and pop stores.

You could probably get by here with just an Amex card and cash, but I keep a backup card for the places that don't accept Amex.

Odd. I'd given up trying to use it by the time I got to Sweden.

Your neighbours (Norway and Denmark) were unwilling to accept it. I forget which supermarkets I tried it in in both of those countries, but three large chains all had their card terminals reject it and the staff looked at it like I'd tried to use a hotel keycard or something.

The big adoption driver in Sweden is the Amex SAS Eurobonus card which lets you collect air miles with the card. It's one of the few cards in Sweden that lets you "game" a points system slightly.

I wouldn't just have amex and cash in Sweden. My experience is that most places don't accept amex, and soon most places won't accept cash either.

I think it used to be that way, but it's slightly better now. I live in London. I have a friend who has an Amex and a normal card, and will always try to pay with the Amex first to rack up reward points. The only time i see him pay is when we're in a bar or restaurant together, usually independent places rather than chains, and i would say Amex is accepted over 70% of the time.

It’s accepted in a lot of places here in NL. I have a Dutch amex. Aldi, Jumbo, Hema, all accept it.


That AmEx have a website listing where the card can be used shows it is far less-accepted than Visa or MasterCard.

I'm not surprised supermarkets accept it. Does your local pizza takeaway, kiosk or bar accept it?

In NL, your local pizza takeaway, kiosk or bar doesn't take anything but the local system ("Maestro", but a different Maestro than anywhere else in the world) anyway.

There are still a few non-Amex cards that offer cashback with any retailer, although the amounts are small; e.g. Capital One (0.5%), Barclaycard (0.25%).

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