SINGAPORE – E-commerce giant Amazon has announced that it will impose a 0.5% surcharge on Visa credit card transactions on its Singapore website, Amazon.sg, starting September 15.
An Amazon spokesperson told the Straits Times that Singapore is the first country where this surcharge will be imposed, but added that the high cost of accepting card payments is a global issue.
The surcharge will apply to most purchases made on Amazon.sg, such as clothing and consumer electronics sold by third parties, or Amazon itself, from Singapore or overseas.
However, Amazon Fresh groceries, digital goods and services such as in-app purchases on the Amazon Twitch service, as well as subscription programs such as Amazon Prime will not be affected by the supplement.
Purchases on other Amazon websites are not affected at this time, even when shipped to Singapore.
When asked why the surcharge was only imposed in Singapore, Amazon declined to comment.
However, the company said its goal was not to collect revenue from the surcharge, but to encourage consumers to use better payment methods at lower cost, while preserving their choice and deferring the additional cost of paying. high cost payment methods.
An email sent to Amazon.sg users on Tuesday (August 10) attributed the extra to the high cost of Visa payments.
“To avoid this surcharge, we encourage you to use a debit card or non-Visa credit card as the default payment method on your account,” he added.
The Amazon spokesperson also told ST that the cost of accepting card payments continues to be a barrier to providing the best prices to customers.
“These costs are expected to decrease over time, with innovation and technological advancements, which allow merchants to reinvest savings into lower prices and purchasing improvements for customers,” he said.
“Yet despite these advances, the cost of paying for some cards continues to remain high and even increase. Due to the consistently high cost of Visa payments, there is a surcharge added to Visa credit card payments in Singapore.
“With the rapidly changing global payments landscape, we anticipate a less card-centric future in the years to come, and we will continue to innovate on behalf of customers to add and promote faster payment options,” cheaper and more inclusive in our stores. worldwide.”
Contacted by ST, Visa said, “Visa maintains that the simplest, most cost-effective, and merchant-friendly approach is not to overtax consumers for using cashless payment methods. Consumers who choose to pay with cards should only pay for the cost of the service provided or the item purchased.
He also said he believes overcharging merchants is having a negative impact on consumers and businesses.
When ST visited competitors Shopee and Lazada, no such surcharge has yet been observed when attempting to pay with a Visa credit card.
According to statistics from payments industry research firm Nilson Report, Visa cards accounted for 34% of global card payment transactions in 2019, while Mastercard accounted for 19%.
Visa is the second largest supplier in the segment, followed by Mastercard in third place. They both rank behind UnionPay, which largely serves the Chinese domestic market.