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Square and American Express credit card taps small-business segment

The news: American Express and Block’s Square will launch a small-business credit card for US sellers, per a press release. The Celtic Bank-issued card will be powered by i2c and will operate on the Amex network.

Why it matters: The Square credit card addresses two major small-business payment trends.

  • Small businesses are gravitating toward fintechs for their payment needs. Eighty-nine percent of small businesses felt underserved by their primary bank and had considered switching to a more accommodating payment fintech, according to a Capgemini survey. As a prominent fintech in the payments space, this works in Square’s favor.
  • They also want integrated payment solutions. Forty-three percent of digital small-business decision-makers said managing payment operations and relationships takes up too many resources, per Paysafe. Square may be an ideal credit card provider for small businesses trying to limit how many third-party businesses they work with. It already offers a bevy of commerce, payment, and management tools that small businesses can use alongside its credit card.

What's at stake: The card is a big opportunity for both Amex and Square to court small businesses, which make up 99.9% of all US firms, according to the Small Business Administration.

The card can round out Square’s small-business payment tools. The tie-up with Amex is Square’s first major push into the small-business credit card space. It can help bolster Square’s seller revenues by tapping small-business demand for credit: Credit cards were the second-most sought-after financing and credit product by US small businesses last year, per Federal Reserve data—and current economic challenges may heighten demand for financing solutions. Moving into the sector also helps Square keep up with PayPal, which already offers credit card products for merchants.

It also complements Amex’s small-business tools. The firm has been trying to better serve small businesses, which accounted for 27% of its total network volume in Q3. It rolled out small-business checking accounts last year and a cross-border payments solution over the summer. More recently, it partnered with TikTok on a campaign to help small businesses reach Gen Z customers. These moves reflect Amex’s desire to capture more small-business volume and diversify its revenues.

Read on: Check out our Small-Business Payment Disruptors report to learn about strategies payment providers can use to better serve small businesses.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Payments Innovation Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the payments industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.