The maneuver is symbolic. Amazon, the global e-commerce giant, is partially closing the door in Great Britain to Visa, the incumbent payment operator. The American, which claims 200 million subscribers worldwide, announced on Wednesday that it would no longer accept payments by Visa credit cards issued in the United Kingdom from January 19, 2022. In question, according to the giant of the Internet which has reaped record profits during the pandemic, the “high fees” charged by the payment services company.
While 90% of British consumers use Amazon across the Channel, and 40% its paid service Prime, according to a 2019 Mintel study cited by The Guardian, Amazon therefore warned its users by email. He also specifies that Visa – debit – cards or credit cards provided by other companies “such as Mastercard, Amex and Eurocard” can still be used.
Following Brexit, the transaction fees operated by Visa have increased. When the UK applied European regulations, the commission rate per transaction was 0.3%. Since leaving the Union, Visa has increased its fees to 1.5%, recalls the American site The Verge.
“These fees should come down over time as technology advances, but the costs remain high, or even increase,” Amazon said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that it wants to “continue to innovate (…) to add and promote faster, cheaper and more inclusive payment options”.
Amazon and the rumors about its private cryptocurrency
Thus described, these “payment options” echo the experiments carried out by the GAFA in terms of cryptocurrencies. And for good reason. Based on the decentralized protocol of the blockchain, the private cryptocurrencies of the digital giants, like Libra, which has become Facebook’s “Diem”, have the ambition to become new means of secure payment, carried out peer-to-peer, and especially without an intermediary operator.
This summer, a job ad posted by Amazon for a “product manager specializing in digital currencies and blockchain”, had boosted the price of bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, recalls CNN.
In the wake of these rumors, Amazon had denied its desire to launch its own cryptocurrency, which would allow it to both eliminate transaction fees and control payment data.
Above all, since this summer, Jeff Bezos, the founder of the e-commerce site, has taken off with the functions of general management of the ogre of e-commerce. What give him the opportunity, he said, to focus on other activities, including cryptocurrencies.
Jeff Bezos regularly invests in new so-called decentralized finance companies, via his personal venture capital fund Bezos Expeditions. In 2020, he took a stake in the startup Chipper Cash, which raised $30 million for its cryptocurrency trading platform targeting seven African countries, reported the bitcoin.com site. On the other hand, the Amazon site already accepts payments in cryptocurrencies against gift certificates, via the Swedish startup Bitrefill.
Visa is “very disapointed“
For its part, the American company Visa said on Wednesday “very disapointedof Amazon’s decision.When consumer choice is limited, no one wins“, reacted the company in a press release.
“We continue to work“with Amazon to resolve the issue, so Visa cardholders can continue to”use their cards on Amazon in the UK without restrictions in January 2022“, specifies the press release.
Visa also intends not to be taken aback by the potential new uses of cryptocurrencies. Last March, he announced accept USD Coin, a cryptocurrency whose price is backed by a currency (a “stablecoin“), to settle the transactions of some of its cards.”Visa to experiment with Crypto.com, one of the largest crypto platforms, and plans to offer USDCoin settlement to other partners later this year“, he explained.