Consumer Payment Card News

Card Costs

With merchants screaming for more insight on payment card pricing, MasterCard and VISA are now offering public access to their interchange rates. Yesterday, MasterCard posted a 72-page PDF document offering comprehensive information to help U.S. merchants understand the rates and how the rates apply. About two weeks ago VISA USA posted its 5-page PDF document providing its interchange rate sheet. Both documents clearly explain that interchange fees are one component of the “Merchant Discount Rate” established by acquirers, which is paid by merchants to acquirers in consideration for card acceptance services. Beyond interchange rates, MasterCard offers, since last June, its operating rules to any merchant who wants to access them without restrictions. VISA’s operating regulations are available to all merchants who currently accept VISA and have a valid contractual agreement with an acquirer if they agree to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Trade groups representing merchants say that the publishing of interchange rates is fine and dandy but it does not go far enough to explain how that rates are set at a necessary and efficient level.

To view MasterCard’s pricing visit: “Click here”:http://www.mastercard.com/us/wce/PDF/14992_MasterCard_Interchange_Rates_and_Criteria_-_October_2006.pdf

To view VISA’s pricing visit: “Click here”:http://www.usa.visa.com/download/business/accepting_visa/ops_risk_management/Interchange_Rate_Sheets.pdf

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