Amazon.com Inc is ending its partnership with Visa Inc to accept Visa-issued credit cards in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
The world’s largest online retailer said on Tuesday that starting next month, it will begin accepting Visa-branded debit cards issued by other issuers instead. Amazon said it was ditching Visa because of concerns over government rules that favor Visa cards over cards issued by card networks such as MasterCard Inc and American Express Co.
Starting on 1 March, Amazon will begin issuing its own debit cards that can be used for purchases made on the Amazon website.
The company declined to comment on how many cards it would issue.
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Visa representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The break with Visa marks the latest twist in Amazon’s efforts to apply e-commerce business lessons to offline retailing and capture more of Britain’s $2tn a year retail industry. Britain is one of the company’s most profitable markets outside the United States.
Amazon’s debit cards will be branded with the distinctive green and red logo of European payment network Europay, MasterCard and Visa, known as EMV, and thus compatible with roughly 98 percent of British bank machines, Amazon said.
Last November, the EU unveiled new rules to make it more difficult for banks to reject customers who use “prepaid” cards issued by brands other than Visa and MasterCard. The rules came as banks face pressure from European consumer groups to stop penalizing customers for using other cards.
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