Amex adds to SMB charge-card users’ credit options

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American Express is fine-tuning the credit options available to small-business owners squeezed by coronavirus and the economic slowdown.

For November billing cycles, Amex is embedding its Pay Over Time feature for business charge card customers, making it easier to revolve the balance for certain purchases instead of paying in full at the end of the month, Amex said in a Tuesday press release.

Pay Over Time previously was available to business charge card users as an opt-in feature, but in recent months Amex has pushed alternative-financing options to the forefront for its consumer and business cards in response to rising competition and demand.

U.S. small-business customers with the Green, Gold or Platinum cards will be able to carry a balance — with interest — on any purchase over $100 with no time limit on how long the items may revolve, Amex said in the release.

Last month Amex extended the Pay Over Time feature to consumer Platinum charge card users, while adding installment loan options for all consumer charge cards, adding to an expanding array of “buy now-pay later” options in the market.

PayPal this week rolled out Pay in 4, enabling credit customers to spread out payments for purchases between $30 and $600 into four chunks over six weeks, with no interest or fees.

Under Amex’s recently expanded Pay It Plan It program, charge card customers can spread payments for purchases of at least $100 into equal monthly payments for a fixed fee, with no interest.

Pay It Plan It has been available for Amex’s revolving-credit and cobranded cards since 2017 and is popular with millennials, an Amex spokesperson said.

Since last month, Amex charge card users also have gained the option to knock out payments for purchases under $100 at any time throughout the month through the mobile app, to keep their balances down.

The changes came after Amex’s charge card customers signaled an interest in more payment flexibility, Brett Sussman, Amex’s vice president of global commercial card lending, said in the press release.

“This is especially critical during these times of uncertainty,” Sussman said.

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