Most major gas station chains (like BP, Exxon, and Shell) accept American Express credit cards. However, there may be some independent gas stations that will only accept Visa/Mastercard. That happens because American Express charges the merchants higher processing fees.
Some Major Gas Station Chains That Take American Express
Aside from being able to use your American Express cards at almost any major gas station nationwide, some Amex credit cards also offer rewards on such purchases. For instance, both the Blue Cash Preferred and the Amex Blue Cash Everyday offer bonus rewards for U.S. gas station purchases.
American Express is accepted at 10.6 million merchant locations in the U.S. and in 160+ countries and territories abroad. But you’ll find some stores that have exclusive deals with the more popular networks, Visa and Mastercard. For example, Costco only accepts Visa cards now, after switching from Amex only in 2016. Plus, despite the good number of foreign countries where you can use American Express cards, acceptance is on a merchant-by-merchant basis. So, coverage in a lot of countries is hit or miss.… read full answer
Here’s where American Express is accepted:
Where American Express is Accepted in the U.S.: 10.6 million merchants
Where American Express is Accepted Internationally: 160+ countries and territories
Countries Where American Express is Accepted Most: Canada, Australia, UK, India, Singapore
Places Where American Express is Not Accepted: Cuba, Sudan, South Sudan, Iran, Syria
Major Retailers That Accept American Express: Amazon, IKEA, Sears, Target, Walmart, Lowe’s, Apple, Best Buy, Staples, CVS
Major Retailers That Don’t Accept American Express: Costco, small non-chain stores/restaurants
So, an American Express card is enough for your shopping within the U.S. Though you may find some stores that don’t take it, the majority will. But you’ll probably want to have a no foreign transaction fee Visa or Mastercard when you go abroad. Those networks guarantee you worldwide coverage, with acceptance in over 200 countries and territories. Plus, Mastercard and Visa cards are accepted just about universally within those regions. Amex cards still have hit-or-miss acceptance in many.
Keep in mind that you can usually use these cards inside the gas station as well, so they are not exclusively for gas purchases. You just can’t use them anywhere else.
Some of these specialized store credit cards also have counterpart Visa or Mastercards that are accepted everywhere – not just at gas stations. Some of their applications will actually consider you for the Visa or Mastercard version before you’re considered for the store card, too – such as the Chevron and Texaco Gas Card. So, be sure to read the fine print before you apply, to make sure you’re applying directly for the card you want.
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