American Express has launched a new initiative in New Zealand called Shop Small and announced a new partnership with the BNZ designed to expand small business acceptance of the card across the country by bringing merchant fees into line with other credit card facilities.

New Small Business Recovery research by American Express has revealed thatnearly half (48%) of New Zealand small business operators say their customers have played a critical role in supporting them during the pandemic, however, only around one in five (19%) feel that their wider local community has rallied around them, suggesting that locals need to shop beyond their regular stores and rally together to do more for small businesses.

The research examined the impact of COVID-19 on New Zealand’s small businesses and the measures that can best support them in rebuilding. It also revealed that four in five businesses for whom the pandemic has had a negative impact, have experienced revenue losses. Around one-third (32%) need consumer spending to lift within the next month or two just to stay afloat throughout 2021.

These new insights accompany the announcement that the company is introducing its global Shop Small initiative in New Zealand for the first time. Additionally, the company is announcing a new partnership with BNZ which will add thousands of additional businesses to American Express’ merchant network across the country and ensure that BNZ businesses pay the same rate to process American Express transactions as they do other card schemes.

Rob Bourne, Country Manager for New Zealand at American Express, said, “This year has been incredibly challenging for many small businesses. More than ever, we need to show our support, which is why American Express is bringing Shop Small to New Zealand for the first time. Shop Small celebrates the valuable contributions small businesses make to their communities and the economy and reminds people of the importance of spending with them. 

“In times like these, it’s not enough to simply fall back into regular shopping habits. Small businesses are crying out for support, so it’s critical that shoppers look for any opportunity to shop somewhere new.  Every dollar counts when you’re a small business, especially when for almost two-thirds of them (64%) revenue is down on average around half (49%) compared to the same time last year.” 

Bourne also said that small businesses are often the ones to go above and beyond for their local communities, and that local sporting clubs, schools and community groups have long benefited from this generosity, so it’s time that the favour was returned.

During Shop Small, American Express is funding a Card Member offer to drive more spending into small businesses. American Express Card Members who save the offer to their Card and spend $10 or more in-store at participating small businesses in New Zealand by 31/12/2020, will receive $5 back – up to 10 times.*  The offer is limited to the first 40,000 cards to save the offer.

Despite the challenging times, the research released by American Express shows that around half (51%) of small business owners feel more determined than ever to succeed and over one-third (37%) are doing whatever they can to survive.

Dan Huggins, BNZ Chief Customer Officer, Customer, Product and Marketing, says, “We’re delighted to work with American Express to extend their merchant presence across small to medium enterprises in New Zealand.

“It means SMEs who use BNZ merchant services can now take American Express payments at the same standard rates as other major credit card providers.

 “BNZ is committed to backing Kiwi businesses and payment services are an important part of running a business in New Zealand.  BNZ will continue to increase options to help merchants to provide their customers with easy and efficient ways to pay at the counter, online and from overseas”, says Mr. Huggins.

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