One positive change that’s happened during coronavirus lockdowns is that many of us have been making a greater effort to shop small and local. While larger businesses can likely weather the worst of the economic downturn, or, in the case of some of the biggest tech companies, actually see increased sales, small businesses have suffered financially even with loans and other relief efforts offered in stimulus packages. And it’s important to all of us that small businesses survive — they make up around 48% of the country's economy.
To help us, the average consumer, make more of an impact on small businesses who need help right now, American Express announced today that it’s basically giving away free money. From June 29th until September 20th, AmEx users will have $50 to spend on a qualifiable small business in the U.S. Whether it’s a cup of iced coffee or a set of cool, breathable pajamas for a summer of WFH, you have even more incentive now to shop at a local mom-and-pop that’s likely undergone financial stress due to COVID-19. If you don’t have much disposable income for donations to BLM or other causes for racial equity, this perk can be one way you can support small Black-owned businesses as well.
Unfortunately, AmEx isn’t just writing you a check for $50. The way it’ll work is that for every $10 you spend with your AmEx at a small business, you’ll receive $5 back as a statement credit that you can then use on another small business. AmEx will credit you up to ten times, for a max of $50. In order to take advantage of this opportunity, you’ll have to enroll your card with the program by July 26th. And you’ll only be able to enroll one of your AmEx cards in the program, if you have multiple. Consumer and business cards are eligible for the incentive, but not corporate or prepaid cards.
You can discover which businesses are eligible according to AmEx by using their business locator. Qualifying businesses will be marked by a “shop small” badge. The perk is available for both in-store purchases as well as online ones, so you can still quarantine at home and make a positive difference on the businesses in your community.