Congressional Lawmakers Urge Visa, Mastercard To Call Off Planned Swipe Fee Increases
Recently Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), and Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the CEOs of Visa and Mastercard urging the companies not to proceed with plans to raise their interchange fee rates.
In 2021, according to the Nilson Report, Visa and Mastercard charged merchants a total of $77.48 billion in credit card fees and $28.06 billion in debit card fees.
These fees, the majority of which are interchange fees, are deducted out of transaction amounts for credit and debit card purchases and are ultimately borne by consumers in the form of higher prices for goods and services.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Visa and Mastercard are planning to increase their interchange fee rates later this month, after previously delaying fee increases in response to letters from Durbin and Welch.
These planned fee increases reportedly will apply to a variety of types of transactions, including many types of online purchases as well as in-store purchases in retail settings.
The Visa/Mastercard duopoly dominates the U.S. payment cards market, combining to hold about a 70 percent share of card purchase volume.
The letter said in part, “We urge you to withdraw your plan to raise credit and debit card fees on American business owners and hard-working American families. As Americans are dealing with the highest rate of inflation in decades, your profits are already high enough and any further fee increase is simply taking advantage of vulnerable Americans.”