Amazon puts UK Visa ban on hold

Online retail giant Amazon continues to allow UK Visa credit card payments as negotiations over fees with the card provider continue

Amazon has announced that it will not ban the use of Visa credit card payments in the UK this month, contrary to an earlier announcement in which it declared its intent to halt the payment option, putting the suspension on hold while the two companies work on a resolution.

In November, Amazon said that it would stop accepting UK Visa credit card payments because card fees remain “an obstacle” to providing the best prices for customers.

When announcing the suspension, an Amazon spokesperson: “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.”

At the time, a Visa spokesperson spoke of the company’s disappointment over Amazon’s decision, and accused Amazon of “threatening to restrict consumer choice in the future”, adding that Visa had a “long-standing relationship” with the e-retailer and hoped to come to an agreement.

The announcement was largely met with surprise from experts. Gareth Lodge, financial services analyst at Celent, said that while it is not uncommon for smaller retailers to refuse to take certain cards, “it is very surprising that one of the biggest retailers in the world stops taken payments from a card with such a high share of credit card payments”.

The ban was due to start on 19 January 2022, but the online retail giant has now told UK customers in an email that they can continue to use Visa credit cards.

The email said: “The expected change regarding the use of Visa credit cards on Amazon.co.uk will no longer take place on 19 January. We are working closely with Visa on a potential solution that will enable customers to continue using their Visa credit cards on Amazon.co.uk.

“Should we make any changes related to Visa credit cards, we will give you advance notice. Until then, you can continue to use Visa credit cards, debit cards, Mastercard, American Express, and Eurocard as you do today,” it added.

A Visa spokesperson said: “Amazon customers can continue to use Visa cards on Amazon.co.uk after January 19 while we work closely together to reach an agreement.”

Justin Floyd, CEO at open commerce business RedCloud, said that open banking and commerce will be the catalyst of change for the high fees that merchants pay.

“Visa will have dropped their charges, the future of commerce will look like no payment charges, with the consumer owning their identity to shop online without all the complex current payment challenges,” said Floyd.

“For the long-suffering merchants of high interchange fees, this becomes the first step in the road to decentralisation, trading without the highs costs levied by the ‘taxes’ [from using credit cards].”

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