Amazon to stop taking Visa credit cards in UK

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Visa has been launched into chaos in London’s streets

Amazon is to stop taking Visa credit cards in the UK from December, following changes to the way transactions are verified.

The online retailer said it would give Visa debit cards instead.

The decision comes after Visa confirmed changes to the way its credit cards are verified.

In a statement Visa said it was working with retailers to allow them “the opportunity to switch over to technology that better meets their needs”.

Alex Colville, Visa’s head of Europe retail product, said: “We’ve been engaging with our customers to make sure we understand how and why this change has been made and as soon as we have those conversations concluded we are committed to working closely with the industry to ensure that retailers can continue to choose the payment processing service that best meets their needs.”

Amazon’s online store had long accepted credit cards, but the changes will affect all shoppers as online purchases will no longer be accepted with Visa cards issued outside the UK, including in the US and Canada.

In a statement, Visa said that it had consulted retailers but the discussion was “unfortunately not as constructive as both Visa and Visa cardholders had hoped”.

‘Shockwave for customers’

“By the time Visa met with the industry, it was too late. They confirmed what we had feared would happen,” said Colin Giles, the founder of card payment processing business Evelin.

One top Amazon customer said she was shocked at the company’s “concealment” of the changes and accused the online retailer of misleading customers.

“Amazon was one of the few sites that accepted Visa cards so it comes as a shockwave to most Visa customers and it’s hard to see what that decision is all about,” said a customer who asked not to be named.

“I could understand it if Amazon were being legally defrauded because of the way Visa communicated with retailers but obviously they are not being defrauded as they have never asked Visa to change their processing,” she added.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cash and cheques could still be accepted in the UK

Alex Colville at Visa said that in many cases they could still accept cash and cheques for purchases and were working on some systems to accept them in the long term.

“Visa is not replacing either PayPal or alternative card acceptance,” Mr Colville added.

The company had already announced that Mastercard would be taking over the processing of credit cards and that “other party providers are exploring whether to replace Visa as a credit card processing partner in their internal processing networks”.

Visa is a major payments processor and operates in nine countries, including the UK.

Its Visa Europe business accounts for more than 60% of Visa’s global retail card volumes.

Mr Colville said that although their credit card volumes had declined in recent years, they were still the largest in Europe with nearly 230 million cards in circulation.

By comparison, Mastercard said its international credit and debit card services would increase by 8% to 91.2 million this year.

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