September 10, 2015 / 12:00 PM / 3 years ago

CORRECTED-Sam's Club to accept American Express credit cards

(Corrects last paragraph to reflect that Sam’s Club serves 500,000 small business customers a day, not “has 500,000 small business customers”)

NEW YORK, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s warehouse division, will accept American Express credit cards starting Oct. 1, in addition to the other cards it already accepts in its stores, the companies said on Thursday.

Sam’s Club will also accept Amex’s Bluebird prepaid debit card, sold in Wal-Mart stores, which was launched in 2012 as an alternative to bank checking accounts that can carry high fees.

American Express lost a crucial relationship with Sam’s Club competitor Costco Wholesale Corp earlier this year. Costco stopped accepting Amex cards exclusively, and switched to Visa instead. Citigroup Inc will issue Costco Visa credit cards.

Amex said in February the loss of Costco would hurt its earnings for the next two years, and threaten nearly 8 percent of the worldwide annual spending on its cards.

Sam’s Club says it is the eighth largest U.S. retailer, with more than 650 locations in the United States and Puerto Rico. It accepts MasterCard Inc’s MasterCard and Discover Financial Services Inc’s Discover card in its physical stores. Online, Sam’s Club already accepts American Express, in addition to Mastercard, Discover, and Visa Inc’s Visa. Wal-Mart’s main stores already accept American Express.

The warehouse retailer serves 500,000 small business customers a day, an important group of clients for American Express, said Anre Williams, president of global merchant services at American Express. (Reporting by Dan Wilchins)

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