Amex Launches New Cash-Back Card For Small Businesses

When it comes to rewards programs, some small-business owners would rather have cash than points, so American Express yesterday launched the American Express SimplyCash Business Card.

In exchange for cash rewards, Amex is banking that card usage will increase as businesspeople opt to automatically charge regular monthly expenses on the new card in exchange for a monthly credit on their statement.

Amex doesn¹t expect current cardholders to switch to the new card. Instead, it wants to lure as many small-business customers as possible bycreating a reward -- in this case, cash -- that appeals to those who may not want a Starwood Hotels or JetBlue rewards credit card, two co-branded cards launched by Amex in the last year.

"What we¹ve found is that different small businesses have different needs," said Amex spokesperson Rosa Alfonso. "We want to be more than a credit card or financial tool."

Advertising for the SimplyCash Business Card is slated to break on national and local TV, in print, on radio and online "in mid to late November," Alfonsa said. She declined to discuss campaign details and would not disclose spending.



The new card gives holders cash-back rebates each month as a statement credit. Other credit card companies pay cash back once a year. Charges for gas, office supplies and wireless service generate a 5 percent cash back while other purchases trigger 1 percent cash back.

The SimplyCash Business Card¹s "automatic monthly rebates make cash-back rewards easy for small-business owners who want to earn immediate cash-back savings on all their purchases, but don't have time for complicated cash-back redemption rules," said Raymond Joabar, Open¹s senior vice president and general manager.

Amex says the new card has no spending limits, caps or annual fees. The card is being introduced with an introductory APR of 0 percent on purchases for the first 12 months.

Like all Amex business cards, SimplyCash holders will have access to the Open network of tools and special savings for all business card holders.

To promote Open, Amex has enlisted two small-business owners as bloggers on a microsite called BizBox at The bloggers are Grace Bonney, who runs a small graphic design business, and Andrew Kruse, the founder of an alternative energy company. The aim is to engage small-business owners with tools that will help them more effectively run their businesses.

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