Apple, Amazon and Ford face payment models

In the world of e-commerce, payment processing is never as simple as A to B. Who facilitates what, what credit cards or services are accepted, and what fees are charged are all conflicting complications that underlie every online purchase. They also lead to quarrels, breakups, make-ups and new relationships.

This weekend was not without drama. Apple has faced dating apps that say they are taking obscene cuts to their business. Amazon broke up a fight with Visa. And Ford has found a new friend in Stripe.

Pay it forward

Apple: Apple takes discounts of up to 30% on purchases made on its App Store but, last month, received a little regulatory “incentive” to rethink things. The Dutch antitrust authority has ruled that blocking in-app alternative payment methods – notably in dating apps like Tinder – breaches competition rules. Apple was ordered to comply by January 15 or face a fine.

Apple gave in, sort of. On Saturday, the company said it would allow apps to use third-party payment options in the Netherlands, but would remove them from its native payment option and impose security warnings on them in the App Store. There’s a reason Apple remains so defensive – it made $85 billion, or 22% of all revenue, from the App Store in fiscal year 2021. There could be more “encouragement upcoming regulations as Dutch authorities investigate the new changes.

Amazon: On Monday, Amazon backed off from threats to ban Visa payments in the UK. Originally citing high transaction fees resulting from Brexit, the trading giant said it was working with Visa on a truce. UK visa holders could still face small surcharges similar to a 0.5% fee in Australia and Singapore.

Ford: Ford is outsourcing its online payment processing. On Monday, the auto giant signed a five-year deal with Stripe to use its technology to process e-commerce payments in North America and Europe. Privately held Stripe, which has a valuation of $95 billion, will lend its services to Ford just as the company’s market capitalization topped $100 billion for the first time and as it pursues an electrified future and techie.

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