AmEx and Amazon launch co-branded credit cards for UK SMEs
American Express (AmEx) and Amazon’s business-to-business (B2B) marketplace have teamed up to offer co-branded credit cards to the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The cards allow businesses to decided whether to earn rewards or adjust payment terms on certain purchases.
The card issuer and ecommerce giants already operate a co-branded card scheme for businesses in the US.
This programme, announced back in June 2018, targets businesses with less than $10 million in annual revenue.
AmEx is one of the largest small business card issuers in the US. It’s extended partnership with Amazon now sees it try to woo more small business customers abroad.
What the cards do
There are two different cards. One is a standard business card, the other is a business ‘prime’ card.
The option to collect rewards or defer payments comes at the Amazon check-out. Rewards tot up anytime a business uses the AmEx-issued card, but only apply to Amazon purchases.
The rewards can alternatively apply to the balance of a business’ monthly card statement.
“We know that a vast number of the UK’s businesses rely on Amazon’s wide-ranging products and services and are excited to launch this,” says Colin O’Flaherty, AmEx’s general manager for UK global commercial services.
Amazon has separate card deals with other financial incumbents. One includes JPMorgan Chase, which issues Amazon consumer credit cards for purchases on Amazon, as well as all other merchants.
The US Big Tech also has a card deal with Synchrony Financial, which issues credit cards, though these are used mostly on Amazon-only purchases.
The small print
Both cards come with a £50 annual fee. But this fee is waived in the first year for companies already holding an Amazon Prime Business account.
Cardholders who own an Amazon Prime Business get rewards of 2% on the first £120,000 they spend each year at three outlets.
These are Amazon.co.uk, Amazon Business UK, and Whole Foods Market UK, the supermarket chain Amazon bought in 2017 for $13.7 billion.
Rewards after this £120,000 limit drop down to 1% of purchases. Or, these cardholders can opt for 90-day payment terms.
All other cardholders – i.e. those without an Amazon Prime Business account – get 1.5% rewards on the first £120,000, after which it drops to 0.5%. Payment terms also only stretch 60 days for these cardholders.
Both cards have a 32.6% annual percentage rate (APR) for extended payment terms. All non-Amazon purchases still earn cardholders 0.5% in Amazon rewards.
Close to six million small businesses employ more than 16 million people in the UK, according to data from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Last year, these businesses generated £2.2 trillion in turnover.