business news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that American Express has begun paying retailers to accept its credit cards, a move designed to help it catch up with Visa and Mastercard in terms of acceptance.

The story says that Amex is is offering "sign-on bonuses to some businesses that don’t take its cards," ranging from under $10,000 to about $450,000."

Amex has said that its goal is to achieve acceptance parity with its competitors, and "AmEx Chief Executive Stephen Squeri has said the company is on track to meet its goal, but the payments show it hasn’t been an easy sell. Sign-on bonuses with no strings attached are nearly unheard of in the credit-card business. Visa and Mastercard sometimes pay businesses to start accepting cards, but that money is meant to defray the cost of payment technology upgrades. Discover Financial Services also sometimes reimburses businesses."

I don't take Amex, but if they'd like to write me a check for $450,000, I'm happy to begin doing so. Just saying.

• The National Grocers Association (NGA) announced that it presented its Industry Service Leadership Award to Dave Jones, who recently retired from The Kellogg Co. after 33 years.

Fox News reports that "two men and a woman were killed in a shooting outside a Walmart store in Oklahoma on Monday that appeared to stem from a domestic dispute, according to officials and family members … the shooting happened just before 10 a.m. in the parking lot of a Walmart in Duncan, located roughly 75 miles south of the state capital of Oklahoma City.

"The Duncan Police Department said on Facebook that the woman and one of the men were found shot to death in a car, while the other man was found dead outside the car in the parking lot."
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