Massive change for millions of Visa debit card holders due to war on fees (2023)

MILLIONS of people have had their Visa debit cards replaced by Mastercards amid an industry war against the payment giant.

Customers of Santander and First Direct have been sent replacement Mastercard debit cards to use with their current account, and NatWest is soon to follow.


Banks have denied their decision is linked to fees charged by Visa and said it was to improve customer experience.

But the change has left customers disgruntled due to their new cards failing at the checkouts.

One angry user said: "You need to get this sorted, you've changed all my cards over to MASTERCARD, guess what happens when there's an issue with Mastercard?!

"Had to walk out a shop earlier after already having the service, luckily they knew me.. still need to pay them though."

Another fumed: “Sort it out @santanderuk since you changed from Visa to Mastercard, it’s been nothing but issues.

“My account isn’t working today. Good job this isn’t my main account and I have a couple of current accounts with other banks. As soon as my savings interest rate runs out I’m leaving!”

On October 21, Santander tweeted: "We're aware that some customers continue to experience issues with our card payments.

"We're very sorry for the inconvenience and are working hard to resolve the issue as quickly as we can,"

First Direct has also had teething problems.

Customer Milly Fawcett complained: "Ever since @firstdirect changed over to @Mastercard I’ve had no end of problems with my cards!

“On the phone AGAIN to resolve randomly declined payments. + lots of #retail apps not fully supporting MasterCard security checks. This call is 18mins and counting! #BringBackVisa @Visa

NatWest customers have been notified that they will have their expiring Visa debit cards changed to Mastercard ones over from December.

Some have speculated whether the decision to switch away from Visa cards is linked to the firm’s ongoing row with Amazon, in which Amazon said it will no longer accept Visa credit cards from January due to high transaction fees.

Visa debit cards will still be accepted on the site.

But banks say the decision was not recent, although some customers are only now just receiving their new Mastercards.

It comes as Amazon announced it would not accept Visa credit card payments from January.

Salim Secretary, of NatWest Group, said: “For the last year we have been extensively considering how we develop more tailored payment options for our customers.

"Earlier this year we announced we are extending our existing relationship with Mastercard beyond credit cards and into debit payments.

"We believe this partnership will enable us to offer more tailored payment options to our customers however they wish to pay – whether in store, online or via mobile devices.”

Santander said: "We regularly review our third-party providers, and the decision to switch from Visa to MasterCard was based on a wide range of factors.

"In October a small number of customers experienced issues when making a payment. This was related to our own internal systems and not to do with MasterCard, and we are sorry for the inconvenience this caused."

The Sun has approached Visa, Mastercard and First Direct for a comment.

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