American Express Betting Sites
American Express represents one of the oldest forms of credit card. The company dates back to the 1850's and their first charge card to the 1950's.
Experienced punters will have noticed however that bookmakers do not accept American Express. A lot of retailers and companies do not take AmEx due to the high fees involved although this is not the reason why you cannot gamble using the the card. In this guide we explain why Am Ex is not generally accepted as a way of funding your betting account directly. We also show you some ways in which you can still deposit into betting sites using Am Ex through indirect methods.
Online Bookmakers That Accept American Express
I doubt you will find an online betting site that accepts American Express directly and if you do you are likely to have to pay hefty fees to use it. The main reason Am Ex is not available for online gambling is due to the terms of the card provider more so than those of the bookmaker, and there are several reasons for this.
American Express is an American company that carries the national name. As funding of online gambling is largely illegal in the USA their scrutiny is extremely high. While there is no reason why a UK customer should be blocked from funding a UK betting account using AmEx, or any other credit card, unfortunately these transactions tend to get blocked by the card provider. Even if you do find a bookie that takes Am Ex there is a fair chance that your transactions will be stopped anyway by the company.
The Am Ex credit card agreement also states that any gambling transaction is treated as cash and so falls under the cash advance rate. This rate is typically 27.9% making betting transactions largely infeasible for the customer even if they could use it. Many credit cards also treat deposition of funds to betting account as cash transactions too and this is something to look out for when using any credit card.
Secondly Am Ex merchant fees are particularly high and this is the reason American Express card holders are restricted from using their card in a load of situations other than betting online. American Express typically charge merchants around 5% whereas Visa and MasterCard fees are usually 2% or less. Most UK bookies offer free deposits and withdrawals so you can understand from their point of view that they will not accept this payment method.
Even bookmakers that regularly charge fees for depositing like Betfair and ComeOn do not accept AmEx and that tells you something. Both bookies charge between 1-5% for most payment methods but even here there is no facility to bet with American Express. The high fees of AmEx is a principle reason why they can offer their card holders so many points and cash back rewards but the negative connotation of this is it reduced the number of merchants that are prepared to take it.
All is not lost however if you want to fund a betting account using AmEx there are other means, read on.
American Express Gambling
It is perfectly legal to fund a UK betting account using an American Express credit card registered in the UK as a British Citizen. This does not mean AmEx will let you gamble however, as a private financial provider it is up to them which merchants they will allow transactions to and often this can mean you may not be allowed to fund a betting account. They will generally claim this is because it is an industry at risk of fraud and terrorism but we know UK bookies are as safe as houses so that rhetoric doesn't really fly. Where they will let you use your American Express card for gambling it will be classed as a cash transaction and so carry high cash fees.
With hundreds of millions of card users the credit card provider are certainly very popular, largely for their rewards schemes that give you points, access to airport lounges and other travel services. It is a fact that American Express users spend around 3-5x annually compared to a typical Visa or MasterCard user. It is therefore surprising that the company have not relaxed their policies in jurisdictions where gambling is legal, like the UK. If the situation ever changes we will be the first to let you know.
How To Bet Using American Express
It is possible to use an AmEx card to fund a digital e-wallet such as PayPal, Skrill, Neteller or EcoPayz and then use this intermediate account to fund a betting website. This is a good option for those who's only means of payment is American Express. The vast majority of bookies do not charge fees for depositing from an e-wallet or withdrawing back so this is a viable option. It is however unlikely that you will receive any reward points, bonuses or cash back from AmEx for funding an e-wallet.
Fees to fund a digital wallet with Am Ex vary but are usually in line with other credit cards. For examples Skrill's fee for all credit cards (inc Diner's club and JCB) is 1.9% irrespective. Be advised even when using a digital wallet your transaction may still be blocked by AmEx and you may still be liable for cash fees. Many sites however will still state in their terms that AmEx cannot be used even through PayPal to fun their accounts. Our advice is to check with AmEx, the e-wallet service and the bookie before you go ahead.
A final option is to use your American Express credit card to purchase cash vouchers such as PaySafeCard and then use this to fund a bookmaker account. This is however also likely to be classed as a cash transaction attracting those high cash fees.
On the whole if you can fund your betting account by any other means I would recommend avoiding American Express to gamble with for now.
History of American Express
American Express, based in New York, was founded in 1850. Massive in the US they account for nearly a quarter of all credit card transactions made in US dollars. The brand has an estimated value of nearly $20 billion and annual revenues in excess of $33.5 billion.
AmEx was initially an express shipping company for the state of New York. With the expansion of the railroads and shipping routes the company quickly went national. The company moved into finance in 1882 and introduced travellers cheques in 1891 helping to establish the company as an international brand.
Am Ex introduced their first charge card in the 1950's where it went on to boom in a post war US economy. The first gold card was issued in 1966 and platinum in 1984 setting out the company's goal of appealing to business and higher classes. AmEx now have a range of cards, some fee free but most with annual fees and points or cash back rewards.