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UK Amazon users can continue using Visa credit cards after dispute is settled

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<span>Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

Firms reach deal two days before retailer had threatened to stop accepting UK-issued Visa cards

Amazon and Visa appear to have agreed an 11th-hour resolution to their bitter dispute after the online retailer told customers they can continue using Visa credit cards on the site.

In November, Amazon told customers that from 19 January it would stop accepting payments made with UK-issued Visa credit cards.

At the time, Amazon blamed its decision on “the high fees Visa charges for processing credit card transactions”. Since then the two companies have been engaged in what has been described as a “game of corporate chicken”.

However, on Monday morning, Amazon started sending affected customers emails telling them they would be able to continue to use their Visa credit cards to pay for items, and for Amazon Prime.

“The expected change regarding the use of Visa credit cards on 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,” the email stated.

“Should we make any changes related to Visa credit cards, we will give you advance notice. Until then, you can continue to use Visa credit cards, debit cards, Mastercard, American Express, and Eurocard as you do today.”

Almost 90% of Britons shop at Amazon, and its analysts have estimated Amazon Prime membership in the UK to be about 21 million. Last month, it was claimed that Amazon faced losing nearly £1.4bn from UK shoppers had Visa credit cards been banned from the site.

However, Visa too would have lost a huge chunk of revenue as customers would have been forced to use other cards. It now seems that the crisis talks that are thought to have happened over the weekend have borne fruit, and that a holding deal appears to have been put in place, while a longer-term solution is worked on.

Had the ban gone ahead, it would have hugely inconvenienced millions of people who use a Visa credit card issued by providers including Barclaycard. Amazon Prime would have lost hundreds of thousands of subscribers as payments lapsed.

A Visa spokesperson said: “Amazon customers can continue to use Visa cards on after January 19 while we work closely together to reach an agreement.”

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