Visa, Mastercard Swipe Fees Hit Record $100.77 Billion in 2023

Interchange fees, on average, biggest expense for convenience stores, aside from labor, Merchants Payments Coalition says
Credit card swipe fees
Photograph: Shutterstock

Visa and Mastercard credit card swipe fees hit a record high of $100.77 billion in 2023, according to the Merchants Payments Coalition. Swipe fees, on average, are the single biggest expense aside from labor for merchants, like convenience stores, the group said.

“Once again, Main Street merchants and consumers were hit with a new record for swipe fees in 2023,” said Christine Pollack, vice president of government relations for The Food Industry Association (FMI). “Last year, Visa and Mastercard fixed the banks’ prices to the tune of more than $100 billion in credit card swipe fees. That is an awful toll for Main Street businesses and their customers to bear.”

U.S. merchants were charged $7.5 billion more for credit cards with Visa and Mastercard logos in 2023 than they were in 2022, the Merchants Payments Coalition said. Total swipe fees, including debit cards, topped $172 billion, compared to $160 billion in 2022. And of that figure, more than $132 billion in swipe fees were from debit and credit cards with the Visa or Mastercard logos, the coalition said.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) is one of the lead sponsors of the Credit Card Competition Act, designed to provide merchants relief from swipe fees by breaking the duopoly Visa and Mastercard hold.

The Federal Reserve Board also extended the comment period on its debit card swipe fee proposal until May 12. This proposal would lower the amount banks can charge for debit swipe fees from 21 cents to 14.4 cents per transaction.

Visa and Mastercard control 80% of the market and centrally price fix the swipe fees charged by banks that issue cards under their brands, rather than the banks competing to offer merchants the best deal. Visa and Mastercard also block competition by restricting processing to their own networks, the Merchants Payments Coalition said.

The Merchants Payments Coalition, Washington, D.C., represents supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations, online merchants and more fighting for a more competitive and transparent card system that is fair to consumers and merchants.

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