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Mastercard Plans to Raise Certain Credit, Debit Card Fees

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April 15, 2024

Cathy Sagle

Pricing changes come days after card issuers agree to $30 billion settlement over swipe fees

Mastercard is increasing its assessment fee, according to the Merchants Payment Coalition. And while Mastercard said these fees are unrelated to interchange or swipe fees, MPC is saying that the company is still taking advantage of Main Street retailers, including convenience stores.

“This new increase proves the credit card companies are continuing to take advantage of Main Street,” MPC Executive Committee member and National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) General Counsel Doug Kantor said. “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.”

Mastercard is issuing pricing changes later this month, a company spokesperson told CSP. The changes relate to delivering value and strengthening security for banks, business owners and consumers, the spokesperson said.

While Purchase, New York-based Mastercard did not specify for CSP what exactly the changes are, the MPC reported that 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.

Mastercard said some changes are related to core systems, while others are related to optional services like merchant risk monitoring and holistic merchant data insights to help reduce fraud. Changes will go into effect for issuing and acquiring banks.

The changes 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, Mastercard said.

“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,” the Mastercard spokesperson said.

This fee increase comes after Mastercard agreed to reduce swipe fees, which applies only to interchange fees—the component of swipe fees that goes to the bank that issues a card. The assessment fee that Mastercard plans to increase is a network fee that goes to Mastercard, according to MPC.

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, according to MPC.

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 labor.

MPC represents retailers, supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations, online merchants and others fighting for a more competitive and transparent card system that is fair to consumers and merchants.