Amazon blames 'high fees' for ban on Visa credit card payments in UK

UK customers are being warned that Visa credit cards will not be accepted for much longer.

Amazon has warned customers that the firm will stop accepting Visa credit cards for UK payments in a matter of months. 

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The announcement, made via email to customers on Wednesday, says that purchases made through the Amazon.co.uk domain will no longer accept Visa credit cards issued in the United Kingdom from January 19, 2022. 

Customers in the UK will still be able to use debit cards -- including Visa debit cards -- as well as non-Visa cards including Mastercard, Amex, and Eurocard.

"We know this may be inconvenient, and we're here to help you through this transition," the company said, urging customers to update any default Visa credit card payment setups to alternative methods. 

Amazon has blamed the "high fees Visa charges for processing credit card transactions" for the change. 

The decision could be due to Visa's hike to fees tacked on to UK-EU customer purchases following Brexit, from October this year. So-called interchange fees were reportedly increased to interregional caps to up to 1.15% for debit cards and 1.5% for consumer credit cards by Visa, rates far higher than previously-imposed EU caps. 

Mastercard, too, has increased its interchange fees. However, Visa is a far larger card issuer in the United Kingdom and the decision will likely impact millions of customers.  

As noted by UK financial expert Martin Lewis, this could be a "possible negotiating tactic for Amazon to get its fees reduced."

"UK shoppers can use their Visa debit and credit cards at Amazon UK today and throughout the holiday season," a Visa spokesperson told ZDNet. "We are very disappointed that Amazon is threatening to restrict consumer choice in the future." 

"When consumer choice is limited, nobody wins," Visa's spokesperson continued. "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."

ZDNet has reached out to Amazon with additional queries and we will update when we hear back. 

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