Amazon & Visa back in business as global deal confirmed

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It’s no surprise that Amazon and Visa have struck a global agreement. The stakes were too high for Amazon otherwise, given cards issued by the likes of Visa, as well as Mastercard, are so ubiquitous.

Many of these cards sit behind digital wallets like Apple Pay and PayPal. Also, Amazon Prime subscription payments are tied to Visa cards. If all this was to change, it would be majorly inconveniencing its customers. At the end of the day, the consumer wants to use their preferred payment method and they won’t want Amazon to tell them it can’t be Visa.

It’s more likely that Amazon has been applying pressure tactics. Major players in the retail space tend to have bespoke rates with payment firms, rather than paying published rates. The pressure on Visa was likely a way to negotiate a longer-term agreement on rates, or even to push for a freeze to its current rates.

Merchants, especially large ones, and the card networks, have a long history of squabble over fees and terms of use — settled by litigation in many countries. Card networks also face constant scrutiny from antitrust authorities around the world. Ultimately, however, while the card networks play a central role in consumer payments today, there are long-term threats to their role as intermediary – for example, payments on blockchain, whether cryptocurrency or not.