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Online Marketplace eBay to Drop American Express, Citing Fees, and Says Customers Have Other Options

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(AP) — Online marketplace behemoth eBay said it plans to no longer accept American Express, citing what the company says are “unacceptably high fees” and that customers have other payment options to shop online.

It’s a notable blow to American Express, whose customers are often the most attractive among merchants and spend the most money per month on their cards. But it’s not the first time merchants have voiced opposition to AmEx’s business practices by walking away, most notably the warehouse chain Costco nearly a decade ago.

“After careful consideration, eBay has decided to no longer accept American Express globally effective Aug. 17 due to the unacceptably high fees American Express charges for processing credit card transactions,” said eBay spokesman Scott Overland, in a statement.

Overland said that eBay customers have become aware of new ways to pay for items, making payments more competitive than ever before, and AmEx was no longer a necessary partner for eBay. eBay has increasingly been offering customers buy now, pay later options on purchases through Apple Pay, PayPal and other companies like Klarna and Affirm as well.

“We know that the vast majority of eBay customers are willing to use alternative payment options to continue enjoying buying and selling on our marketplace,” Overland said.

Online merchants have become increasingly combative with payment processors in recent years over the fees they charge to accept payments. Amazon had a similar fight with Visa in the U.K. roughly two years ago, where Amazon threatened to drop Visa as a payment acceptance type over what it also called high fees.

Visa and Amazon eventually resolved their differences, and there was no disruption of service.

Like other payment processors, AmEx takes a percentage of each transaction a merchant processes on their network. The fee varies from industry to industry, and the fees that the largest merchants pay are typically a closely guarded trade secret.

In a statement, American Express says that eBay’s cost to accept AmEx cards is “comparable to what eBay pays for similar cards on other networks” and that AmEx cardmembers typically spend double what is spent on other networks.

“We find eBay’s decision to drop American Express as a payment choice for consumers to be inconsistent with their stated desire to increase competition at the point of sale,” said Adam Isserlis, a spokesman for AmEx.

 

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