In the latest shot across the bough in the decades-long feud between merchants and credit card network providers, Amazon
The e-retailer cited high transaction fees as the reason behind the change, although Amazon did say it would continue to accept Visa-issued debit cards going forward.
Online retailers have struggled to keep pace with escalating transaction fees, with $100 billion in such fees being paid by merchants annually in the U.S. alone. Much comes down to consumers' insatiable demand for premium cards, like those that dole out airline miles, which can charge business owners over 2% of each transaction.
"The cost of accepting card payments continues to be an obstacle for businesses striving to provide the best prices for customers," said Amazon. "These costs should be going down over time with technological advancements, but instead, they continue to stay high or even rise."
"We are very disappointed that Amazon is threatening to restrict consumer choice in the future. When consumer choice is limited, nobody wins," said Visa in a statement. The credit-card network provider said it had "a long-standing relationship with Amazon" and was working with them to resolve the issue.
Meanwhile, Amazon is already incentivizing customers to make the switch, offering discounts of £20 on their next purchase if they set a debit card or non-Visa credit card as their default payment method.
Recent research from CMS payments and the British Retail Consortium recently found that the cost of processing payments had reason by £150 million each year and that some card providers have more than quintupled their fees.
Many card network providers are taking advantage of the shifting regulatory environment post-Brexit, with caps on transaction fees between the U.K. and the E.U. now removed.
"Ultimately, it will be consumers who suffer higher prices unless these spiraling costs can be brought to heel," Andrew Cregan, payments policy adviser at the British Retail Consortium, told Bloomberg. Cregan has pressed the U.K. Payment System Regulator to step in to rectify the situation.
Nevertheless, according to Euromonitor, Amazon transactions in the U.K. account for just 0.26% of Visa's payment volume, meaning any impact on Visa's bottom-line is likely to be "de minimis," George Mihalos, an analyst at Cohen, advised in a research note on Wednesday.
Since September, Amazon has levied surcharges of 0.5% on all Visa credit card purchases in Singapore, with the e-retailer making similar moves in Australia.
Amazon said that it didn't intend to use the fees to raise revenue but rather to incentivize customers to switch to a less expensive payment method.
However, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, what really counts is whether Amazon will carry its feud with Visa to the U.S. shores, which it says is less likely due to rebounding credit card usage.
Nevertheless, Amazon and JPMorgan Chase
According to a July 2021 report from Packaged Facts, Amazon's card was one the most widely used in its category, handily trouncing some hotel and airline-branded cards.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that Amazon is currently in talks with Mastercard
In the U.K., Amazon also offers a credit card which just so happens to run on the Mastercard network.