Amazon.com.au encourages customers to stop using their Visa card

The Australian marketplace will from the start of November add a 0.5% surcharge to purchases made with a Visa card.

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Amazon has begun informing Australian customers that it would prefer they do not use a Visa card when buying things through its platform.

From November 1, Amazon will apply a 0.5% surcharge to purchases made using Visa credit cards on Amazon.com.au.

According to Amazon, costs for transactions should be going down, not up.

"The cost of accepting card payments continues to be an obstacle to providing the best prices for customers," an Amazon spokesperson told ZDNet.

"These costs should be going down over time with innovation and technological advancements, which allows merchants to reinvest savings into low prices and shopping enhancements for customers. Yet, despite these advancements, some cards' cost of payments continue to stay high or even rise."

The spokesperson said as a result of Visa's "continued high cost of payments", a surcharge is currently being added to Visa credit card payments in Australia. This has been in place in Singapore since August.

"Our goal is for no customer to pay this surcharge, and we're encouraging them to add a non-Visa credit card to their account in order to avoid doing so," the spokesperson said.

To make sure that happens, Australian customers with a Visa credit card as their default payment method will receive a AU$20 gift card when they add a different payment method to their account.

"With the rapidly changing payments landscape around the world, we anticipate a future that is less card-centric in the coming years, and we will continue innovating on behalf of customers to add and promote faster, cheaper, and more inclusive payment options to our stores across the globe," added the spokesperson.

In response, Visa was tight lipped, but it noted merchant surcharging was allowed in Australia.

"The practice of merchant surcharging is permitted under Australian payments regulation, where a merchant may surcharge an amount up to a reasonable cost of card acceptance," a Visa spokesperson told ZDNet.

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