American Express has added five new acquirers to its OptBlue program, designed to make Amex card acceptance easier for smaller merchants.

First Data, EVO, Merchant e-Solutions and First American Payments will now participate in the program, American Express states in a May 14 press release.

American Express has been working with acquirers to establish OptBlue for several months. The program allows acquirers to set their own pricing for merchants who accept $1 million or less in annual Amex transactions.

American Express unveiled the program at its Financial Community meeting earlier this year, where it named Vantiv, Global Payments, Heartland Payment Systems, Worldpay, Transfirst and JetPay as the first OptBlue participants.

Total System Services also plans to launch OptBlue this year as one of several new products "that will help us both capitalize on … industry trends as well as enable new ways for merchants to accept payments," said Mark Pyke, TSYS' senior executive vice president for merchant services, during the Columbus, Ga., company's analyst day May 13.

OptBlue allows acquirers to provide small merchants with a single statement, one settlement process and one contact for all the major card brands. Participants determine merchant pricing in addition to providing payment processing and servicing, American Express says.

"Being among the first to offer OptBlue provides the full spectrum of card options to the small merchants and sales channels we serve," says Himanshu Patel, First Data's executive vice president of strategy and business development, in the release.

"OptBlue simplifies the merchant card acceptance experience by providing an all-in-one solution where small merchants benefit from the ease and convenience of having a single source for all of their servicing, processing and contact needs for all major card brands," Patel says.

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