Small Business Saturday FAQs: Your Questions Answered


Just 4 days left until Small Business Saturday! Now is the last chance to apply for new primary or additional user cards, just be sure to call and request that they be expedited!

Happy shopping!

Originally posted on 11/17:

Related SBS posts:
-Are You Ready For Small Business Saturday? Where Will You Be Shopping? Plus A Roundup Of Fees For Additional User Cards.
Get A Free Small Business Saturday Welcome Mat, Tote Bags, And Stickers For Your Business
AMEX Small Business Saturday Will Return 11/29/14; 3x Better Than The 2013 Version!
-Small Business Saturday Registration Now Open!

Related credit card FAQ post:
Building Credit And Credit Card FAQs: Your Questions Answered

American Express is a advertiser.
Q: What is Small Business Saturday and who is paying for it?
A: For the past 5 years on the Saturday after Black Friday AMEX has sponsored SBS. Every year the promo varies but this year you can use your card at a small business in the USA, up to 3 times for $10 or more per swipe, and you will be refunded the money by AMEX.  You must spend at least $10 per transaction to receive a refund.  You can make 3 swipes for every card that you have.

SBS is paid for by American Express and other corporate sponsors. Merchants get paid the full amount for purchases.

Q: How can AMEX afford to do this?
A: Even if 500,000 cards participate and maximize the promo, it only costs $15 million.  That’s a tiny drop in the bucket for a company worth $100 billion and SBS creates tons of positive PR for the company.  Additionally there are other corporate sponsors of SBS.

It also gets more costumers asking merchants to accept AMEX so that they can use their cards on SBS.

Q: How long does the refund take?
A: Typically it posts within a few days. Sometimes it falls in between the cracks and the refund can take up to 90 days per the terms.

Q: Can I use my American Express consumer card ?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I use my American Express business card ?
A: If it says business, yes.

Q: Can I use my American Express corporate card ?
A: If it says corporate, no.

Q: Can I use my American Express prepaid card ?
A: If it says Serve or Bluebird, yes.
If it says anything else, no.

Q: Can I use my American Express card if it’s issued by Citibank, Macy’s, or another bank?
A: Yes. However if the refund doesn’t process automatically for any reason it will be very tough to have it honored. Whereas cards that are actually issued by AMEX will be easy to get a manual refund on.

Q: Can I use primary and secondary cards from the same account?
A: If your cards have different accounts numbers on them, yes.
If your cards have the same accounts numbers on them, no.

It’s fairly simple, all AMEX issued secondary cards have their own account numbers and do qualify.  Secondary Bluebird and Serve cards also have their own account numbers and do qualify.
Secondary AMEX cards issued by other banks like Citi and Macy’s have the same account numbers, and therefore don’t qualify.

Q: How many secondary cards can I have?
A: Officially up to 99, but trying to add 99 cards to your account is a red flag and can trigger a financial review where you must submit your tax returns or else your accounts will be shut down.  Some people have been shut down adding fake names as secondary users on their account.

Serve and Bluebird cards allow a max of 4 secondary users per account.

Q: How many secondary cards can I add safely?
A: Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. YMMV.

Q: Do I need to give a social to add an additional user?
A: To add it online, yes.
To add it over the phone you can say that you don’t have the information handy and most reps will allow you to open it.

Q: Can you add yourself as a secondary user on your own account?
A: Yes.

Q: What are the credit effects of secondary user cards?
A: The credit of the secondary user won’t affect the primary user.  However the secondary user can be affected positively or negatively by the account that they are added to, based on how the primary card is utilized.  Even if you don’t provide a social security number the credit bureaus may be able to link an account to one’s credit report.  You can always close a secondary card and have it removed from a report if desired.

Q: How old does an additional user have to be?
A: 15.

Q: Do you need to activate your additional user cards to use them?
A: Generally speaking, no.  However Serve and Bluebird cards do need to be activated.

Q: Do you need to add funds to your Serve and Bluebird cards to make purchases on SBS?
A: Prepaid cards need funds to make purchases.

Q: Where do I register for Small Business Saturday?
A: Here

Q: Is there any way to not have to manually fill out the form each time.
A: I used Autofill Forms for Firefox and it worked like a charm. You can create profiles of each of your users so that with one click it will fill in the name and email addresses.

Q: How do I know if I’m registered?
A: You should get an email confirmation.  You can also login to your AMEX account and look under “AMEX Offers for you” to check for confirmation in the “My Offers” tab.

Q: Will registration fill up?
A: Most years it doesn’t, but it did fill up completely on at least one occasion, so don’t procrastinate.

Q: Can I swipe 3 times in the same business?
A: Yes.
Depending on the processor used by the business, duplicate transaction of $10 may not be approved. If a duplicate $10 charge is rejected just try it again for $10.01 before resorting to calling the number on the back of the card.

Q: Can I make purchases online?
A: No.

Q: Do I need to swipe the card or can it be keyed in?
A: It can be keyed in or swiped.

Q: How do I know which businesses qualify?
A: The easiest way to know is if a business is on the small business map.

However just because a business isn’t on the map doesn’t mean it won’t work. As long as the business isn’t part of a major chain or processing mega sums of money it will still work. I’ve used it at stores not on the map in the past without issue, but realize there’s no guarantee.

Q: Will charities qualify?
A: If they’re on the map, sure.
If they’re not on the map, they will probably work anyway, but there’s no guarantee.

Q: Will I get an immediate email confirmation after swiping my card?
A: Technically you should. If you do then you’re good to go.
However often times AMEX gets backed up and doesn’t send out a confirmation, so don’t sweat it if you don’t get a confirmation email.

Q: Can I still add an additional user card for SBS.
A: Yes, turnaround time is about a week.

Q: Can I still participate if I don’t have an AMEX yet?
A: Sure.  You can apply for a card now and request for it to be sent to you overnight.  You can also apply for additional user cards at the time of the application.

Consumer cards include:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express

American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Platinum Card® from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Business cards:

All business cards give automatic OPEN Savings rebates on top of points.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express 

The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express 

Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express OPEN 

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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172 Comments on "Small Business Saturday FAQs: Your Questions Answered"

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Great article. Thanks Dan


Turn around time for new user account cards is 1-2 business days when done over the phone – as per the Amex rep I spoke to today.


When I register bluebird sub-accounts could I use any email or does it have to be the same email as when I applied for them ?


thanks for info. registered yesterday and got the ‘congratulations’ pop up screen… However, I still didn’t get any confirmation emails – any idea why? Should I be concerned that i’ll have trouble with the credits?

Dan the Man!

Thanks Dan!


How can credit bureaus link accounts without a social?


@dan do serve cards need to be activated before registering?




@dan in regards to getting the additional card by SBS. What does turnaround time mean? Can I also request expedited/overnight shipping for the additional cardholder card?


Another benefit for AmEx is that it encourages more businesses to accept AmEx cards. Once they accept it for SBS due to consumer demand, theyre more likely to continue accepting it throughout the year.

Ticked off

@sam why the heck would you ask such a question after reading the post your answer is there black on white

David R

@Timmy: Any.
@anonymous: No, but if it’s a credit card issued by American Express, check your My Offers tab for reassurance.
@Yaakov: If they already have a file for that name with the same date of birth, they can assume it’s the same person, especially if the address matches.
@sam: Read the post.


@sam,yes,you will get an error message otherwise


@sam: Do you realize why Dan wrote this article? So he wouldnt have to keep repeating the answers! Start from the beginning & read till the end & then ask your q’s.


Good point.
Though I know some stores that have machines that forget how to accept AMEX the other 364 days of the year.


“You can always close a secondary card and have it removed from a report if desired.”

If a spouse is an authorized user that was added upon opening the account they can never be removed and will always stay on, as long as account is active


Not true.
Close the account and dispute it with the bureaus to have it deleted.

A joint application is another story, but that’s rare.


Will spending at a small business in a participating country such as Israel work for the statement credit?


If someone adds themselves as an au to their own account what, if any, effect does it have on his credit report ? Will it count as 2 separate credit lines ?


They are Serve cards – and I don’t see any way to check that offer on serve cards… Is that so?


Great write-up.
One comment, the Serve main account does not need to have funds if you set up one of the funding sources as backup.


US only as I wrote.

I’ll let you know soon ;)

But if it says already registered you should be fine.
Take a screenshot if you want.

Thought of that, but why risk it.


Pretty sure tweeting #amexshopsmall (copy paste, rinse repeat from other twitter accounts with linked cards) registers you same as the form, right?


Yes. Was aiming to K.I.S.S. with this post.


@anonymous: Huh?


I was able to purchase online before and still receive the credit. I will test this year and report back.


Probably depends on how the site processed the charge.


@Timmy: @Dan:
I added myself to my wife’s account and to my own account as AU (I was already AU on my wife’s), and the number of accounts from before I added to today has remained the same.


Is there any fee if I load my serve account with a credit card ?


Use a Chase card.
No fee and you get miles.


Great FAQ. Small typo, should be “Will charities qualify?”


I know you were going for s&s but you can get the card #’s right away too.



I’m aware.
It’s not right away, it takes time for approval.
And it’s more complicated than I wanted to go in this post.


I have a congregation merchant, how can I be sure that card charged by me will be refunded?


do I need to load first the serve account before using or I can just link my debit card and it will automatically take out from the debit ?


Did you try contacting AMEX to have yourself added to the map?

Why not load your Serve from your CC??


@Dan: no, I didn’t, I will do! Thanks.

b l

@anonymous: you can try to register again and look what it says, if it’s already registered then it will say that.


does article say that any small store would work, even if store didn’t register? any local falafel?


What does turn around time mean?


On the Amex platinum how do you get $400 credit 1st year


@Dan: I don’t have chase credit cards. My question is if I need to load my serve account or it can just take from default funding source every time ?


@Dan: I set my cash advance limit on my Chase Freedom card to $100, then tried to add $101 to my serve account. I got a message that my card was declined and to contact Visa at the number on the back of my card! Care to explain please?


How are you certain that were going to get the credit with a keyed in charge if its against the terms and conditions ? R u taking responsibility ????


I opened up a few AUs without socials. Now I’m getting all kinds of junk mail (i.e. Chase & Capital One offers) for 2 of of those accounts.
How does that work? I never gave socials, and I gave them my own address?
Can someone please explain in detail?

mendy from lakewood

dan, you should open up a new site and call it “dans deals for the dummies” all of this was already mentioned although seeing all the coments i could understand why some may need such a post!


A store in lakewood has 5 dedicated swiping stations for people with 100 cards or more. I think dans estimate of 500,000 cards is lower than reality.
Like lands end, little tykes, ect… when people get greedy companies cut their policies.


Thank you very much for this great post. Well done.

Concerning Multiple Swipes. … Best to purchase $30 item ( or gift certificate) and have tender split via 3 ‘Different’ A/E Cards each for $10 ?


According to the FAQ’s non profits are excluded


one $30 purchase will only get you $10 refund. hs to be 3 seperate swipes.


I think the fact that it was $25 2 years ago, $10 last year, adn is now $30 says they did not lose money last year. It was good enough for them that they tripled the refund.


He is. If you don’t get the refund, then post your Amex card number here and either Dan or myself will take care of it.


I am traveling that day and will have trouble making it to stores. What are my online options? Particularly charities, but I don’t know how to find participating ones. Thanks.

mendy from lakewood

@Pat:I’m sure that your local hebrew school will be taking donations on the 29th:)

Mm from Lakewood

@moshe: You probably have 400,000 in Lakewood and one hundred thousand in the rest of the US!!!😉

chana k

‘Turn around time’- the time it takes from your asking / applying for a card until you get it.
@Pat: Ask you favorite charity if they will key in your cards 3x on that Sat night. Then give them the list.



Other cards work to load it as well.

Nothing new.
The charge pends as cash advance but then it posts as a purchase.
You need to have sufficient cash advance to run it though.

Keyed in is not against the terms.
And it always works with the promotions, including the Miami and NYC mini-SBS versions of the promo that just finished last week.

In the past they’ve said it’s been 200-300K. You’re overestimating the effect of the promo.
Proof is in the pudding, they raised the limit from $10 to $30 this year as they had leftover funds last year that were set aside for SBS.

No difference. But you only get $10 back per swipe.

And yet my local shul is on the map under charity.
And charities have always worked in the past.

If it’s on the map then you’re fine.
If it’s not on the map, you can test it out and see if you get the email before deciding how to proceed, though even not getting them email may not mean anything.

Ask them if they can process offline.


Can I use my Amex card for gas?


Gas is excluded. They’re also typically chains, so they’re not part of SBS anyway.
Unless you find one on the map, in which case go for it.


Can someone please give more info on this:
“…Just because a business isn’t on the map doesn’t mean it won’t work. As long as the business isn’t part of a major chain or processing mega sums of money it will still work. I’ve used it at stores not on the map in the past without issue, but realize there’s no guarantee.”
What’s the risk factor? How easy will it be to get Amex to refund, if it didn’t go automatically?


If I see a heimishe business on the map does that mean that they will be open Motze Shabbos, or are they just a merchant that is eligible, but does not necessarily mean that they are planning on being open.


Dan – Do you know if it’s worth it to first apply for the no fee Everyday card – and then Amex will try to upsell you to the paid card for more points than just signing straight up? they did that with their Hilton cards.

Anyone with the no fee Everyday card get promos to upgrade?


@Dan I knows you wrote that the serve card needs to be activated before using it. Does it also need to be activated before registering?
P.s. keep those gr8 posts coming


Does Amex Jetblue Qualify?


@Yoely: IF it lets you register at the link above, then it does.
@Sam: Yes it does see
@Username: doesn’t mean they’ll be open. Call them to confirm.@Welder: The risk factor is that for some reason they don’t qualify. If they do qualify and you didn’t get the refund, if its regular amex you can have them manually add it. if its different branded amex its more difficult


hey dan would this work in macys target or walmart thx


@Dan: Can I use all my cards at 1 merchant/place (6 cards x 3 swipes per card)?

Thanks & your the best!!


Do those sounds like small businesses to you?

Please read the post.


@Dan: I’m impressed how patient you have been in your responses until this one:-) Your a better man then I


Anyone happen to know which shops in Cleveland will open after Shabbos for this?


@ Dan: Thanks, post say you can swipe 3 times at same merchant, I was just triple checking to see if we can do ALL (15-25 or more) swipings at the same merchant, based off your post, it seems like yes.


Dan – you mentioned adding Bluebird secondary card holders. Does that mean creating 4 new family accounts and getting a secondary that way?


Thanks, Dan, for all this information! It has been extremely helpful, especially for those of us who are new to the small business Saturday windfall. No question here — just a sincere thank you (and compliment)!

David G

Dan my business is online and does processong through any of the following 3 companies
Amazon Register
Square Pay

If incharge cards thrugh them will they get credited?

Eliezer Shulman

Hey Dan you said ultimately pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered. With that in mind do you still think it’s a serious risk to add 99 au’s each to 4 amex cards online if done right? I would add 9 cards for me and 10 cards each for 9 of my family members with the socials. I have income on the books for the FR and I need different cards to keep track of purchases at different stores separately. So would you think this is a good idea or am I a fat pig waiting to be slaughtered?
(If it’s too close now for this year I’d still like to know what you think for the future).


@Dan: If it pends as a cash advance that means that Chase picks it up as one? How do I know when they start posting it as one too. Isn’t it risky? I don’t want to be the one finding out that they “caught on”…


Correction: I meant to say I don’t want to find it out the hard way… I’d rather you post when you find out.


why is the registraition site not working


If I already loaded my bluebird this month with $5,000 will I be able to make $30 in purchases for SBS?


Does Amex for Target qualify for this offer?
Is it only on Saturday? It’ll be a rush after Shabbos to make a bunch of purchases at the participating kosher restaurants but the kosher grocery won’t be open! So chaval.


@avi: AFT doesn’t qualify. I guess it goes back to that ‘small’ business point.


I believe that they will only expedite the primary card, for au’s they charge for expedited shipping





How many is Dan gonna get


@Dan you mentioned in comment 30 “no fee for funding serve with chase card”. I lowered my cash advance limit on my chase cards then tried to fund serve for an amount overe my CA limit and it was denied. I tried this few times and confirmed that it was denied bc it wa over my CA limit. Could It be that chase initially recognizes it as a cash advance (which triggers the denial) but it actually posts as a purchase?


Yes, see comment 57.


I opened up a few AUs without socials. Now I’m getting all kinds of junk mail (i.e. Chase & Capital One offers) for 2 of of those accounts.
How does that work? I never gave socials, and I gave them my own address?
Can someone please explain in detail?

Marc h

Tried to open more amex cards and amex rejected me as I
Have more than 6 open lines. They want me to close a line to open another one.!
U know about the line limit. Any suggestions


Just signed for 2 au and was told there is no expediting on new cards even if the acount is old. why am i being told this????


I tried to add some au tonight with expedited service and the rep told me that in order to expedite she needs the social, is that correct?


@Moshe – I signed up some new cards on Friday and was told that I was number 600,000 something (I don’t remember the exact number). Not every one who signs up will follow the instructions accurately and not everyone knows a store that will let you swipe for credit.

@Dan – Regarding the age limit – My SPG business cards required an age of 18 to add additional users, my SPG personal required 15, and Bluebird let me add a 13 year old. (all online)


@rochel: they always tell you that


Just spoke with Amex. They said you CANNOT make a transaction at the same place 3x. They said they will charge you for the other two transactions.


can someone explain what the serve card is? if i get it can i load it from a chase ink card and meet the spend threshold that i need for the 700000 promo? and there wont be any fees? what about getting 5 points per dollar? does this mean i can basically end up with 5 points per dollar on everything i do as long as its done with the serve card and loaded with ink? (and used where amex is accepted)


@izzy: Yes, you can load with Ink, but you are limited to $1000 monthly. No fees. No 5 points; that’s only at office supply stores and phone bills.


can’t expedite without providing social security number


hi dan,

Just added a few sub accounts to my amex serve. Any chances of making it to me by next saturday? Thanks. Any way to expedite them


Since serve is a debit card, i am assuming we need to add funds to any sub accounts of serve or bluebird so that the transaction isnt declined on sbs? My guess is that a lot of people might overlook that.


@RACHEL: who exactly did you speak to? A random cs person? in general, DROPR


@RACHEL: bah. DROPR. terms and conditions say nothing that even remotely hints that that is the case.