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Amazon banning Visa credit cards in UK — what you need to know

five visa cards layered on top of each other
(Image credit: Shutterstrock)

Anyone hoping to make some big purchases on Amazon in the near future should take note. Amazon has announced that as of next year it will no longer accepting Visa credit cards in the U.K. 

According to Bloomberg, this move is the latest escalation by Amazon, as it moves against the high transaction fees levelled at it by payment networks and providers. So here’s everything you need to know about the situation, and how it's going to affect your online shopping going forward.

When does this change happen?

According to Amazon, it will stop accepting Visa credit cards on Jan. 19. Fortunately, this won't be affecting any Black Friday or Christmas shopping plans. 

Amazon will apparently offer Visa credit customers £20 off their next purchase if you switch your default payment method to a different card.

Why is this happening?

According to Amazon, this situation has occurred due to the high fees Visa has been charging on credit card transactions. A spokesperson told Bloomberg that "the cost of accepting card payments continues to be an obstacle for businesses striving to provide the best prices for customers."

Australia and Singapore have already had issues like this, with Amazon charging customers an additional surcharge if they use a Visa credit card. Obviously, this goes one step further, and takes customer choice out of the equation.

What should I do? 

If you plan on buying stuff on Amazon, and only have a Visa credit card to hand, you have two months to get an alternative payment method sorted out. The easiest way to do this is apply for a new credit card and cancel the Visa one. 

Alternatively, if your credit card was issued by your bank, you should contact someone and ask if it’s possible to get a card from an alternate provider.

Once you have your new card, or already have an alternate option to hand, go into your Amazon account and change your default payment method. This can be done by heading to Your Account > Your Payments > Add a payment method.

You can remove your Visa debit card by selecting it from the menu and clicking Edit > Remove from wallet > Confirm remove. If it’s your default payment method, Amazon will then ask you to update your default payment option to the next available card. Click Update and that will be done.

Once your new default card is set up, you don’t need to do anything else. All your ongoing Amazon subscriptions will be charged to that card, though any additional purchases you make will give you a choice — assuming you have more than one card linked to your account.

Will I be able to use Visa debit cards? 

Amazon’s payment support page lists Visa credit cards and debit cards as two separate entities. The page also makes no mention of discontinuing support for Visa debit cards when January rolls around. That means you should be able to continue using a valid Visa debit card on Amazon U.K. for the immediate future.

What are my alternatives? 

There are plenty of other ways to pay on Amazon, even if your Visa credit card is no longer accepted. Amazon even has a list of them all on its payment method support page. They are: 

  • Visa Debit
  • Mastercard credit and debit
  • American Express
  • Eurocard
  • U.K. based Maestro

Yes, even American Express, which is often not accepted thanks to its higher transaction fees, is accepted by Amazon. In any case, it seems like there’s no shortage of ways to pay for stuff with the online retail giant.

Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.