The barriers between Amazon and its U.K. customers have risen: Starting today, American Express is the only U.K. credit card accepted on Amazon.com. Credit card payments will also be handled by Citigroup. Amazon is also discontinuing payment-processing services from Visa International and American Express as of Oct. 1.
For Amazon, this change will likely mean a minor bump in its operating costs. The company doesn’t have a set amount from how much Amazon itself is paying to process payments, according to an Amazon representative. But Visa International had accounted for roughly 23 percent of Amazon payments, according to documents Amazon shared with the Financial Times. The credit card processors now participating in the platform will not charge extra for Amazon accounts, although Visa International was charging some cardholders extra on the base fee for Visa and American Express accounts.
Visa International had been handling the payment processing for hundreds of thousands of Amazon accounts, according to its website. Those accounts were being handled by a third-party company called Aurora Payment Systems, which Amazon was handing over to Citigroup for this change.
Citigroup’s role as sole processor will allow Amazon to provide the same service to its American Express customers in the U.S. through Amazon Payments, which currently handles Amazon payments for its U.S. customers. In an email to Financial Times, an Amazon spokesperson said that Amazon Payments “has the same long-term value proposition” as the process which processed payments for the company’s Amazon Payments U.K. customers.
The move comes amid stiff competition between Visa International and Mastercard in the Amazon Payments ecosystem.
“The market for Amazon payments is relatively mature, so American Express, Mastercard and Visa’s sizable global footprints will ensure they maintain an attractive business and maintain a relationship with customers,” said Ken Webster, a digital payments expert who has been in the payments industry for 25 years, in an email to the Washington Post.