EBay ditches American Express: What’s the Best Credit Card Alternative?

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Editor’s note: This article was written by Nick Cole and originally appeared on Clark.com.

Beginning Aug. 17, eBay will no longer accept payments via American Express.

The main reason for this change? A disagreement over processing fees.

Money expert Clark Howard warned that disagreements such as this could arise this summer as a result of the settlement of an antitrust lawsuit over credit card swipe fees. The fallout could be so drastic that he is prepared to swipe his debit card.

On June 5, eBay notified its customers of the upcoming change with the following email message:

“Effective Aug. 17, we’ll no longer accept American Express as a form of payment on eBay since we have been unable to agree on terms that are acceptable to eBay. You’ll still be able to use a wide variety of credit and debit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and Discover, and other payment methods such as PayPal.”

This statement did not sit well with American Express. It responded with a strongly worded message that accused eBay of being inconsistent with their stated goals and also publicly called out the volume of transactions that eBay actually accounts for in the AmEx portfolio:

“We are disappointed that eBay made the decision to stop accepting American Express Cards as of Aug. 17. By doing so, they will limit customers’ payment choices and take away the service, security, and rewards that customers value when paying with American Express. Our research tells us that in the U.S. the cost of acceptance for American Express is comparable to what eBay pays for similar cards 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. Additionally, eBay represents less than 0.2% of our total network volume. American Express Card Members can continue to use their cards with millions of merchants around the world.”

As eBay noted in its email to users, you’ll still be able to use cards that are processed by Visa, MasterCard or Discover. So, the options to pivot are plentiful.

There is even an eBay Mastercard that has no annual fee and offers enhanced rewards for eBay purchases. But the card does not make any of our “best” credit card lists at Clark.com because it does not have a great rewards menu for purchases away from the online retailer’s ecosystem. You’d likely need a very high volume of eBay transactions to consider adding this one to your wallet.

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