Retail Giant Bans American Express Citing High Fees, Amex Fires Back 

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eBay will stop accepting American Express this summer. The e-commerce giant cited high fees after failed negotiations. Those who used Amex cards to pay on eBay already got emails with the notification. American Express voiced disappointment about eBay’s decision and responded to the company’s claims. 

Global ban

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eBay issued a statement saying that the online retailer will stop accepting American Express on August 17. The statement explained that the agreement was not reached, so customers will have to use Visa and Mastercard and other payment methods, including PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. The ban will affect shoppers worldwide. 

Gen Z favorite

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Reports claim that American Express enjoys great popularity among younger people, especially Gen Z. However, eBay is not the first company to remove Amex. Costco ended its exclusive credit card partnership with American Express in 2016, and some smaller restaurant chains did the same. 

Amex’s response 

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Following eBay’s statement, Amex said that its research found that fees are comparable to what eBay must pay to accept similar cards, including Visa or Mastercard. The company also argued that it brings more value compared to the competition. The New York-based company said this will limit customers’ choices. 

Amazon’s Visa problems 

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U.K. shoppers nearly lost the ability to shop with Visa on Amazon in early 2022. However, the two companies found a solution. It remains unclear what sparked the disagreement, but Amazon customers continued to use Visa cards on the U.K. website. Additionally, Amazon announced it would be adding fees on Visa credit cards in Australia and Singapore, but this, too, was settled. 

No real competition

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eBay included an interesting observation in a statement. The e-commerce retailer, which was once larger than life but was outperformed by Amazon and Walgreens, said that fees are rising due to a lack of real competition. Additionally, the company stated there is a need for regulations to reduce transaction processing costs for merchants and their customers. 

Fees should be declining 


In a statement to Bloomberg, eBay said payment processing costs should decrease because of technological advancements, fraud capabilities, and customer safety investments. The company assured us that their research found that customers could easily use other payment methods and cards. 

The cost of fees


According to the National Retail Federation, the average credit card fee is around 2 percent. However, that depends on the industry, and some premium cards, like Amax, can have much higher costs, up to 4 percent. On average, customers spent $105 on fees in 2022. 

Amex as a universally accepted payment 


The February 2020 Nilson Report said that American Express can now be accepted at 99% of places in the U.S. that accept credit cards. This was shared on the Amex official website. The company, whose CEO is Steve Squeri, works on becoming a universally accepted payment method. It could be used for travel, high-end shopping, and fine dining. 

Letters to Congress


Visa and Mastercard control over 83% of the U.S. credit card market, and in January 2024, thousands of companies turned to Congress to address the fee issues. In their letters, companies discussed the rise of fees and the effect primarily on small businesses. 

Doubling the costs


The letters to Congress alleged that major companies, including Visa, Mastercard, and Amex, doubled the prices of their fees in 2023. The companies estimated that due to the 50 percent rise, they cost a family around $1100 each year. Amex has a market share of less than 5 percent worldwide, while Visa has close to 38.

Amex’s revelations 

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The company also unveiled that eBay represents less than 0.2% of its network volume. Amex commented that eBay’s decision to drop American Express as a payment choice for consumers was inconsistent with their desire to increase competition at the point of sale. 

eBay’s support for small businesses

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The company emphasized that with two billion listings and 132 million active buyers in 190 markets worldwide, eBay supports small business growth and creates economic opportunities for communities. Reports claim that the company plans to expand in the near future. 

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Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.