Will Amazon suffer due to UK FCA’s credit-card fee?

The effect of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority’s plan to impose a new fee on card transactions in a crackdown on aggressive credit-card marketing threatens Amazon’s ability to use the card to cross-promote the online retailer.

“We are currently in discussions with Visa Europe about their recent decision to cap certain card processing fees and monitor the situation closely,” an Amazon spokesman said in a statement. “We are not able to speculate on the impact on our business or customers, and it is too early to tell the outcome.”

Visa Europe, which represents the assets of its British parent company, issued an advisory about the policy this week, saying the new fee will affect up to 42 percent of credit-card transactions in the country and will range from 11 to 16 cents. The new fee is a 2.5 percent surcharge on credit-card purchases made using Visa payWave.

British lawmakers called for the surcharge this summer after a public outcry over how the nation’s credit-card issuers were marketing new credit and debit cards to British consumers. The issues stem from the annual fee banks have charged merchants for using credit cards since the days of Thomas Jefferson. The caps will end that practice.

If the full effect of the fee sinks Amazon, which operates a distribution center in South Wales, is a big concern for the e-commerce industry and British shoppers who expect to save money on goods they buy online.

As the Financial Times has pointed out, about 1 million internet shoppers had tied up more than $1 billion in Amazon purchases by August by using the company’s zero-percent-interest credit cards. With this, those shoppers are protected from exceeding a $10,000 credit-card limit.

Still, the Bank of England announced this week it will raise interest rates to 0.75 percent, or a half-point increase, this fall, based in part on concerns about economic growth. Amazon is reportedly considering moving away from debit cards as well. It recently won a license to operate as a bank in the United Kingdom.

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