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HomeBusinessAmazon to stop accepting payments using UK-issued Visa credit cards

Amazon to stop accepting payments using UK-issued Visa credit cards

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(Sky News) Amazon says UK customers will not be able to pay for goods using a Visa credit card from January, blaming a “high cost of payments”.

The online retail powerhouse emailed customers on Wednesday morning to confirm the move would take effect from 19 January and clarified that no other credit cards, or Visa debit cards, would be included in the ban.

It means that Visa credit cards issued outside of the UK will also be exempt.

The payment firm’s US-listed shares fell by more than 5% in early trading on Wall Street.

Amazon declared it had taken the decision, which it admitted was “inconvenient”, due to “high fees Visa charges for processing credit card transactions” on its UK cards. Visa accused the company of restricting choice.

It is understood Amazon is particularly angry at a rise in so-called interchange fees – additional cross-border costs – which it believes have risen five-fold since Brexit.

Such fees, payable by Amazon itself or merchants on its platform, would erode margins and raise prices if passed on.

The announcement coincided with a report on the wider payments sector from the British Retail Consortium.

It claimed retail across Europe was shouldering an extra £150m annual increase in card fees – with some rising by almost 500%.

It calculated a £36.5m burden in the UK alone and demanded action to bring fees down.

An Amazon spokesperson said: “The cost of accepting card payments continues to be an obstacle for businesses striving to provide the best prices for customers.

“These costs should be going down over time with technological advancements, but instead they continue to stay high or even rise.

“As a result of Visa’s continued high cost of payments, we regret that Amazon.co.uk will no longer accept UK-issued Visa credit cards as of 19 January, 2022.”

Amazon told customers they should update their default payment.

“We know this may be inconvenient, and we’re here to help you through this transition so you can continue enjoying Amazon’s low prices and wide selection”, it said in the email.

A Visa spokesperson responded: “UK shoppers can use their Visa debit and credit cards at Amazon UK today and throughout the holiday season.

“We are very disappointed that Amazon is threatening to restrict consumer choice in the future.

“When consumer choice is limited, nobody wins. We have a long-standing relationship with Amazon, and we continue to work toward a resolution, so our cardholders can use their preferred Visa credit cards at Amazon UK without Amazon-imposed restrictions come January 2022.”

James Andrews, senior personal finance editor at money.co.uk said of the row: “Shops are entirely free to choose whichever payment method they want, but the news that Amazon plans to stop accepting Visa credit cards will come as a blow to the millions of Britons that have them.

“Notably, Barclaycard, HSBC and Vanquis all use Visa on their credit cards.

“With American Express also rejected by many UK retailers, that means people looking for rewards on their spending or trying to split the cost of shopping with a 0% purchase card on Amazon will be effectively forced to choose a Mastercard.”

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