Payments technology provider Global Payments Inc. is formally launching American Express' OptBlue small business suite in Canada, providing fuel for Amex's recovery from the loss of Costco's cobranded card business.

Amex and Global Payments have been working for several months to prepare a Canadian launch for  OptBlue, which allows acquirers to establish competitive pricing for merchants with a projected American Express charge volume of less than $500,000 per year.

American Express also recently landed JetPay Payment Services as an early acquirer for the OptBlue program. That month, Amex also brought Vantiv, Global Payments, Heartland Payment Systems, Worldpay and Transfirst into the OptBlue fold. Amex also recently added Wells Fargo as an OptBlue client.

OptBlue's launch in Canada is not a direct response to Amex's loss of the Costco business in Canada and the U.S., but it should help Amex's recovery strategy. Costco dropped American Express last fall to begin accepting Capital One branded MasterCards in Canada on Jan. 1, 2015. American Express suffered a similar setback in the U.S. Costco stores, which are turning over network operations to Visa on April 1, 2016.

Becoming the first payment service to offer OptBlue in Canada, “allows us to provide our existing merchant clients with a full one-stop servicing solution for all major card brands and expand our network, as well as engage with small business merchants that don’t currently accept American Express products,” Global Payments Canada president René Bélanger said in a release.

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