Visa is the dominant payment network in Europe, with 58% of the market, while MasterCard has 41% and American Express 1%, according to the Nilson Report, an industry publication. Visa has a similar footprint in the U.S., where it has about half the market while its two rivals together account for about a third.
In the U.S., Amazon could drop Visa as the provider of its Prime credit card. It’s in talks with MasterCard and American Express as part of a standard review of its co-branded credit card agreement, a spokesperson said.
Merchants have been grumbling for years about card fees, which include various payments to banks on either side of the transaction and the card network itself.
In the U.K., the British Retail Consortium industry group has warned that “abusive fee hikes" add to costs that consumers pay for goods and services. The country's Supreme Court even ruled in 2020 that interchange fees, which are collected by a shopper's bank, are unlawful.
The ruling came shortly before the United Kingdom left the European Union, which resulted in rising interchange fees in the U.K. because card companies were no longer required to comply with the bloc's caps on those charges.
Major card brands have hiked those fees on some transactions between the EU and the U.K. to 1.5% from 0.3% before Brexit, according to the British Retail Consortium.
Meanwhile, other fees paid to the card networks themselves have also gone up in the U.K., doubling between 2014 and 2018, the group said.
“With retailers now spending over 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) to accept card payments, it is no surprise many retailers are frustrated by these surging fees," said Andrew Cregan, the group's payments policy adviser.
It urged regulators to tackle what it called “anti-competitive card charges."
“Ultimately, it will be consumers who suffer higher prices unless these spiraling costs can be brought to heel," Cregan said.