Mastercard plans to raise Acquirer Brand Volume fees

Just weeks after reaching a landmark $30 billion settlement on interchange fees designed to provide relief to retail businesses, Mastercard appears to be planning to increase certain credit card fees beginning April 15.

Mastercard to raise Acquirer Brand Volume fees

Mastercard plans to increase its Acquirer Brand Volume Fee – which applies to all credit, debit and prepaid card transactions and is also known as an assessment fee – from 0.13% to 0.14% beginning April 15.

Based on Mastercard’s $2.591 trillion in transactions on those cards during fiscal 2023, that would amount to an annual increase of $259.1 million.

Visa and Mastercard are increasing other fees as well, but sufficient information is not available to calculate the dollar amount of those increases.

Such assessment fees, charged to the issuing and acquiring banks as a percentage on each payment with a Mastercard or Visa, are separate from interchange fees, which are paid to the bank that issues a credit card.

Interchange fees were part of the landmark agreement reached with Visa and Mastercard in which the companies agreed to cap such fees for five years—saving retailers about $30 billion in an effort to curb litigation going back decades.

Despite the settlement, many merchants plan to go to trial over claims Visa and Mastercard colluded on credit card fees, in hopes of getting monetary relief.

Seth Eisen, spokesperson for Mastercard, said the company let banks know last year about pricing changes separate from interchange fees.

“They are designed to ensure that people and businesses continue to have ways to pay and be paid that are hassle-free and worry-free, secure and most convenient for them,” he said in a statement.

“We all have a responsibility to invest in the security of consumers and merchants and for that reason, we hope merchant service providers do not pass these changes to their customers—the business owners.”

“This new increase proves the credit card companies are continuing to take advantage of Main Street,” said Merchants Payments Coalition and National Association of Convenience Stores General Counsel Doug Kantor.

“They made a show of ‘settling’ legal claims, but nothing in the settlement limits the fees that go directly to Visa and Mastercard. That leaves them free to continue to increase these fees and they are doing it already.

The only answer is for Congress to pass the Credit Card Competition Act and bring fair market competition to the badly broken payments market.”

According to Merchants Payments Coalition, total credit and debit card swipe fees – which have risen 50% since the pandemic and reached a record $172.05 billion in 2022 – are most merchants’ highest operating cost after labour.

The fees, they say, are far too high to absorb, especially for small merchants, and drive up consumer prices by over $1,000 a year for the average family.


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