Amazon have been threatening to block UK-issued Visa credit cards

Member Article

Reaction: Amazon temporarily suspend block of UK-issued Visa credit cards

Millions of UK consumers woke up on Monday morning and breathed a sigh of relief as Amazon revealed it had temporarily halted its ban on UK-issued Visa credit cards.

The email from Amazon stated “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”.

Had the ban gone ahead, millions of cards tied to various Amazon subscriptions would no longer have been valid, and consumers would have faced finding either alternative services or changing card providers.

David Ritter, Financial Services Strategist at digital consultancy CI&T commented, “that Amazon has halted its ban on UK-issued Visa credit cards comes as no surprise. Amazon is a retail giant so it has some leverage, but there’s no way it won’t accept Visa cards. Cards issued by Visa and Mastercard are ubiquitous and many of these cards also sit behind digital wallets like Apple Pay and PayPal.

“It’s more likely that Amazon has been applying pressure tactics. Major players in the retail space tend to have bespoke rates with payment firms, rather than paying published rates. The move by Amazon is likely a way to negotiate a longer-term agreement on rates, or even to push for a freeze to its current rates.”

Despite the halt to the block, many still are not happy with the way Amazon have conducted themselves. Commenting on the situation, online retailer Wholee said:

“While Amazon’s decision will have come as a welcome relief to millions of shoppers across the UK, there still remains a great deal of uncertainty as to what the outcome will be. A temporary suspension still shows that Amazon want Visa to bend to their will, and are still willing to cut off millions of consumers from its services to achieve this.

“This continued contempt for customers that they hold is shameful; they are not pawns to be sacrificed in their quest for greater profits. Amazon clearly feel that should Visa not give in to their wishes, then millions of UK consumers will switch from Visa at the drop of a hat. I would not be so sure.

“Whichever way you look at it, Amazon’s image has been harmed by this fiasco. Either they are seen as willing to put millions of customers in limbo just to increase their already substantial profits, or they are seen as bullying Visa into changing their minds.”

Negotiations between the two parties will continue for a while yet. Consumers across the UK will hope that Amazon’s threats do not come to pass, and that a resolution to the impasse can be reached soon.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Eleanor Thomas .

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