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  • Laura Monk

Amazon’s stunning Visa move - and what it means for Sellers

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

Amazon this week created major headlines when it announced that as of January 19, 2022, they will stop accepting Visa credit cards issued in the UK.

It a statement, Amazon said that the move was due to high credit card transaction fees but added that Visa debit cards would still be accepted. Amazon said: "The cost of accepting card payments continues to be an obstacle for businesses striving to provide the best prices for customers."

The statement added that costs should be going down over time due to advances in technology, "but instead they continue to stay high or even rise”. An Amazon spokesperson said the dispute was to do with "pretty egregious" price rises from Visa over a number of years with no additional value to its service.

Visa has hit back, saying it is “very disappointed that Amazon is threatening to restrict consumer choice in the future. When consumer choice is limited, nobody wins.”

Visa still wants to resolve the situation and there is a feeling that Amazon has made the move in an attempt to force down Visa fees in the UK. Reports suggest that Amazon is also considering dropping Visa as a partner for its US co-branded credit card.

But what does this mean for both consumers and Amazon Sellers? Thompson and Holt senior case handler Laura Monk looks at the implications.

“There’s no doubt that this is a significant move being made by Amazon and involving two of the biggest companies in the world,” Monk said. “As such, its impact shouldn't be underestimated.

“For consumers, this is limiting the amount of ways they can pay on Amazon, and that is likely to have a knock-on effect for Amazon Sellers. Especially at this time of year, around Christmas, a lot of people rely on using credit cards when they have excess out-goings that they can pay off at a later date.

“If that option is taken away, it could limit their spending power. Millions of people in the UK use Visa credit cards as they are linked to major banks like HSBC and Barclays, and use them to gain rewards as well as spread the cost of payments. Having a wide variety of options to pay is hugely important to many people.

“But it is also worth noting that the timing of this announcement, over a month before the move comes into place, means there is room for a compromise to be reached. That would appear to be the best outcome for both Amazon Sellers and customers, but if Amazon decides to stick to its guns then there’s nothing that either party will be able to do.”

It is interesting to note that this is an issue that has not just affected Amazon in recent years. In a statement to the BBC, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said credit card fees "charged by the handful of card providers which dominate the cashless payment space have soared in recent years".

"Small businesses are almost always charged more for card terminals than big corporates - so when online giants start throwing down the gauntlet, you know the situation is becoming critical," said FSB national chairman Mike Cherry.

Visa shares ended Wednesday's New York trading day down by 4.7%.

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