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eBay Ends American Express Payments for UK Buyers: Here’s Why

Starting August 17, eBay will no longer accept American Express credit cards as a payment method in Britain or globally.

The decision comes after eBay and American Express were unable to agree on terms regarding payment fees. eBay described the fees as ‘unacceptably high’ and assured customers that alternative payment methods are available.

In a statement to customers, eBay explained: “Effective August 17, we will no longer accept American Express as a form of payment on eBay due to the inability to reach agreeable terms. However, you can continue to use various other credit and debit cards, such as Visa and Mastercard, as well as payment methods like PayPal.”

The communication to customers also included a link for updating their default payment card details.

Many Britons use American Express for daily expenses to accumulate loyalty points, such as those for the Avios program. While American Express is widely accepted by retailers in Britain, some merchants choose not to accept it.

Adam Isserlis, a spokesperson for American Express, criticized eBay’s decision, saying: “We believe eBay’s move to eliminate American Express as a payment option contradicts their aim to enhance competition at the point of sale.”

This decision marks a significant setback for American Express. Similar to other payment processors, American Express charges a transaction fee to merchants, which varies by industry. Larger merchants often keep these fee structures confidential.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average fee for processing credit cards is around 2%, but it can reach up to 4% for premium rewards cards.

Scott Overland from eBay commented: “After careful consideration, eBay has decided to cease accepting American Express globally starting August 17, due to the prohibitively high processing fees.”

Overland added that eBay customers have adapted to new payment methods, making the marketplace more competitive and reducing the necessity for American Express as a partner. “We recognize that most eBay users are willing to switch to alternative payment options to continue enjoying the benefits of our marketplace,” he said.

eBay has increasingly offered “buy now, pay later” options through Apple Pay, PayPal, Klarna, and Affirm.

In response, American Express stated that eBay’s costs for accepting their cards are ‘comparable to what eBay pays for similar cards on other networks,’ and noted that American Express cardholders typically spend twice as much on eBay as users of other cards.

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